July 23, 2019

From The Director’s Desk

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By Robin McAtee, PhD, RN, FACHE, Director, Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC), a Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging (DWR IOA)

Summer 2019


I begin this letter with some exciting news. It was announced on June 10 that we were successful in our quest for renewing our grant!  We were fully funded from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) with a five year $3.74M grant to continue and expand the work of the Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative.   Therefore as we wind-up the activities of fiscal year 2019, we are excited to get started on all of our new and continued activities for the new grant period!

First, to recap the last three months of fiscal year 2019, we were very busy. In April, we had two major events.  April 2, UAMS AGEC in collaboration with Hendrix College, sponsored an “Aging in Arkansas Symposium” in Conway where the results of an older adult needs assessment were discussed by a panel of experts.  April 12 we has a forum, Combating the Opioid Crisis and Chronic Pain, in partnership with the Clinton School of Public Service. This forum was focused on older adults in Arkansas managing chronic pain issues. Panelist included UAMS experts Michael Mancino, M.D.; Teresa Hudson, Pharm.D., Ph.D.; Masil George, M.D.; Heejung Choi, M.D.; Kristin Garner, M.D., Leah Tobey, D.P.T., and Kirk Lane, Arkansas drug director. To supplement this presentation and program, the AGEC and the UAMS Center for Health Literacy developed a Chronic Pain Book for patients. The book has been reviewed by the UAMS IMPACT group and many others. It was unveiled at the forum and has been extraordinarily well received. A link can be found on our website for more information on the books: https://agec.uams.edu/chronic-pain-book-and-addiction-resources/
Books can be ordered by emailing agec@uams.edu. The forum was followed by the posting of the AGEC produced video of an opioid addiction story on the UAMS Facebook page and it has received over 18,000 views!

On April 22, we had our second spring CE Webinar entitled Beers Criteria Update and Evidenced Based Alternatives featuring Lisa C. Hutchison, Pharm.D., MPH, BCPS, FCCP and Janna Hawthorne, Pharm.D., MA, Ed. This was followed on May 8 by a live Facebook event with Alzheimer’s Arkansas entitled: Understanding Respite Care in partnership with Alzheimer’s Arkansas where we had over 750 views on Facebook.

Starting in June, the AGEC crew started production for our First Responder Dementia Training Distance Learning Program. This program should be ready for viewing soon! Stay tuned!

At the end of May, we were privileged to have a presentation from our first cohort of Geriatric Scholars. They presented to the AGEC leadership on the activities from this semester including their interdisciplinary project and helped us discuss ways to improve the program. This program will be continued in the new grant!

We were also active with our community based partners with several programs and activities. In addition, we also partnered with the Oaklawn Center on Aging in response to a request from Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee who had heard about the AGEC’s First Responder Training. Kathy Packard MS, M.Ed., LPC, CDP, and I trained first responders to be Certified Dementia Practitioners and in Elder Abuse and Neglect identification and reporting. The program was extremely well received.


Thank you for all you do for older adults in Arkansas and we look forward to continuing to partner with many of you to expand and improve services and programs.