July 28, 2020

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 2020


Summer of 2020, I think is one most of us will never forget.  It has changed many aspects of our everyday lives including work, education and leisure.  We at the AGEC are learning and adapting.  We have converted many of our normal face to face programs to various virtual platforms.  From Facebook Live events to twitter dialogue to Zoom meetings and educational events, we are changing.  We are thankful that we already had a good virtual base of programs and social media presence and had webinars in place as an adjunct to our face to face health professional programs.  This has allowed us to build additional programs and events more quickly and with more confidence.

We have actually increased our attendance for our continuing educational virtual events and we are working with UAMS Institute for Digital Health & Innovation to convert these programs into enduring materials. That will mean that healthcare professionals who are unable to attend our events live, can attend later and still obtain CE. We are also very thankful for all the outstanding collaborators that have helped to make the AGEC a continuing success.  Our clinical partners at the ARcare clinics in England and Augusta have helped us meet and exceed our clinical grant goals including new objectives related to telehealth and telemedicine visits.  Our community partners such as AR Farm Bureau, AAA Senior Centers, and community churches have all helped us stay in touch with a plethora of older adults and increase our virtual audiences.  We also want to thank those that have helped us provide programs such as Alzheimer’s Arkansas, the Center for AR Legal Services, Dr. Sacha McBain and so many others, thank you!!

AGEC also received an additional grant from HRSA in May, the Arkansas GWEP Cares Act grant.  This is a $90,625 grant with the purpose of ensuring that older adults still receive quality age friendly healthcare during this time of isolation.  The focus is on preventing the spread of COVID-19 among older adults and their healthcare providers, preparing healthcare professionals and older adults for virtual, telehealth visits (which also helps to prevent the spread), and responding to other identified needs such as social isolation.  These goals encompass a large array of activities and programs and we are excited to embrace them.  Stayed tuned to the AGEC website, Facebook page, and twitter accounts for upcoming exciting programs!   Stay safe everyone!!!  Wash those hands, wear those masks, and stay at least 6 feet apart!