Beginning the Conversation:
Integrating Geriatrics Education and Practice
In 2009-10, the John A. Hartford Foundation conducted a communications audit to explore opportunities to amplify and augment the work of our grantees and impact of the Foundation. One of the audit’s key findings was that respondents encouraged the Foundation to more deliberately link its investments in education and training programs with those made to support the new models of practice and service delivery. This echoes recommendations suggested in the 2008 Institute of Medicine report, “Retooling for an Aging America” and recognizes the critical relationship between the success of clinical and service models designed to improve the care of older patients and what happens in education and training efforts in academic and practice settings. We also know that information must flow in both directions between clinical care and the education sector in order to create the workforce we need for the 21st Century.
GSA Event: An Initial Conversation
Since the audit, the Foundation has launched a Strategic Planning process that is reviewing its grant making approaches generally. As part of this work, and in an effort to learn more about how we might better connect our education and service grants more effectively, the Foundation hosted a small, group discussion at the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Annual Meeting at the Boston Sheraton Hotel on Saturday, November 19. In addition to Foundation program staff, 19 people attended including several Foundation grantees and a number of service delivery leaders in the Boston area (see Appendix A). A lively and informative conversation ensued (See Appendix B for the meeting’s agenda).
Christopher Langston, Program Director of the Hartford Foundation, opened the discussion by framing the issue and the gathering’s objective, which was to “start a conversation about the connections between the care needed for older adults and the education and training required to prepare a workforce to deliver that care.” Ultimately, he said, the Foundation was hoping for ideas that “will make the most difference now in improving the health of older adults.”