Center for Aging and Health receives federal grant

The UNC Chapel Hill Center for Aging and Health has been awarded a $2.55 million grant funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration designed to impact the aging populations of North Carolina.

The Carolina Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (CGWEP) is a three-year program that seeks to improve health outcomes for rural and underserved geriatric populations across the state through four main goals:

  • Changing clinical training environments into integrated geriatrics and primary care delivery systems. 
  • Training providers who can assess and address the needs of older adults and their families or caregivers at the individual, community and population levels. 
  • Delivering community-based programs that will provide patients, families and caregivers with the knowledge and skills to improve health outcomes and the quality of care for older adults. 
  • Providing specific education and training about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias to health professions trainees and providers, direct care workers, patients, families and caregivers.

As the program has a state-wide reach, The Center for Aging and Health will be working through their Carolina Geriatric Education Center to partner with six health science schools, the North Carolina Area Health Education Center system, Piedmont Health Services  Inc., the North Carolina American Indian Health Board, and the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult services.

Two educational initiatives will be developed and launched within UNC.  All Health Science students will have the opportunity to learn and function interprofessionally in caring for older adults. The second initiative will be a new interprofessional 2-year geriatrics fellowship for post-doctoral students in nursing, medicine and dentistry.

Center Director Jan Busby-Whitehead, MD, Mary and Thomas Hudson Distinguished Professor of Medicine, and grant principal investigator stated: “As one of only 44 nationally funded Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Programs, UNC has the opportunity to expand its interprofessional team-oriented geriatric educational training throughout North Carolina.  Our greatest potential interprofessional impact is to improve health outcomes for our burgeoning older population, 47 percent of whom are rural and 25.6 percent of whom live in poverty. With rural counties having only 13.1 licensed physicians per every 10,000 people, strengthening and adding to the pipeline that supports rural and/or underserved urban geriatric needs is critical. With this funding, UNC-CH can do more to positively impact access and quality of care for the older patients of North Carolina."