by Robin McAtee, PhD, RN, FACHE, Director, Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative at UAMS
This is my first “From the Director’s desk” article from the Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC), the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program for Arkansas. I am excited as we begin this year of grant activities and what this year holds for us. I have rather large shoes to fill with Dr. Chernoff handing the reigns of this grant to me in July of this year, but am very confident in that she has been an exceptional mentor to me for the past decade (or more) and is still by my side helping and guiding with sage advice! Thank you Dr. Chernoff for conceptualizing and implementing the AGEC initiatives for success and for your knowledge and leadership. The geriatric field and practitioners have benefited greatly from your contributions!
As we begin the final year of this three year grant, we are starting with well-established and multiple programs and partners. We are still working with our academic partners the University of Central Arkansas and Arkansas State University, the UAMS Centers on Aging (formally the AAI), the UAMS Regional Programs (formally the AHECs), AARP, CareLink, CHI McAuley Senior Center, Mainline Clinic in Lincoln County, the Arkansas Department of Aging and Adults Services, multiple long-term care facilities and many others! During the past 2 years, with the new mandate of the GWEP to include community members, we have dramatically expanded our partners and our aging network. I firmly believe that this expansion has strengthened our impact on care of older adults.
We have also strengthened our original mission to train healthcare professionals and students of the healthcare professions in the field and science of Geriatrics. We have also expanded this group to include first responders (police, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics) and direct care workers. In addition, we are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to reach and teach these audiences. We are reaching more and more as we have evolved from paper based and face-to-face trainings to more on-line and web-streaming activities. We are constantly searching for ways that health professionals want to learn, so if you have an idea, please let us know!