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Grant Funds UW Training in Older Adult Care

February 5, 2008

The University of Wyoming has received a three-year, $75,000 grant to prepare social workers to specialize in older adult care.

The grant, from the John A. Hartford Foundation, will allow the university to develop an innovative graduate education initiative in response to a growing demand for trained workers who can meet the needs of older adults, says Vicki Murdock, assistant professor in the College of Health Sciences Division of Social Work.

"Many Americans live independent and productive years far beyond retirement, while illness and chronic disease eventually plague some," Murdock says. "As families balance caring for their older relatives with work, child-rearing and other life issues, the demand for skilled professionals who can help navigate the personal, logistical and health issues of older adults is increasing."

Even so, she says only 4 percent of social workers now specialize in aging, and nearly 30 percent of licensed social workers are over age 55 and poised to retire within the next decade.

Murdock will collaborate with UW's new Wyoming Geriatric Education Center (WyGEC), a university-based statewide center in the College of Health Sciences.

"We will work with the field educational agencies that our social work students are in during their graduate program. Students will become a resource link for social agencies and the WyGEC," says Murdock.

The Division of Social Work will invite students to specialize in the Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education starting in the fall 2008 semester, with the first graduates expected in 2009. To date, almost 600 students from across the country have graduated from the program, and 80 percent of those have gone on to pursue careers in the field of aging.

More information is available from Murdock, phone (307) 766-5426, e-mail

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