Wyoming Geriatric Education Center Consortium at UW Receives $2.1 Million

September 20, 2010

A new $2.1 million continuation of funding will allow a University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences program to help meet the growing needs of practicing health professionals who serve the state's aging population.

The Wyoming Geriatric Education Center (WyGEC), located within the College of Health Sciences' School of Pharmacy, recently received continuation funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA). The new funding, for a five-year period, allows WyGEC to continue and expand its efforts.

The new grant increases WyGEC's distance education offerings, allows for presentations at major conferences, ensure interdisciplinary faculty training and strengthens UW curricula in geriatrics. A major change is that WyGEC is now funded as a consortium. Its two new partners, the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center and the Community Health Center of Central Wyoming in Casper, will also receive funds from the HRSA grant.

Through collaboration of the three partners, WyGEC will increase its emphasis on interdisciplinary clinical training for students; provide more instruction for hospital and community-based physicians, nurses, social workers and pharmacists; and expand training in long-term care issues, says Deborah Fleming, the center's director. Topics include management of care transitions, end-of-life care, geriatric assessment, fall prevention and cognitive health.

The Wyoming Department of Health's Aging Division predicts that by 2014, more than 15 percent of Wyoming's population will be age 65 and over. WyGEC surveys conducted in 2009 of UW faculty and health professionals revealed a need and desire for increased education in geriatrics.

Funded in 2007, the center's mission is to establish a solid foundation for quality geriatric education programs by training health professions faculty, students and providers. WyGEC strives to improve the health care of older adults by providing collaborative, interdisciplinary, and multicultural training of Wyoming's health professionals, Fleming says.

In the past three years more than 1,000 state health professionals have received WyGEC education through a variety of venues -- college classrooms, a 10-week telehealth series, on-site training and three statewide conferences co-sponsored by the center. The center has also developed training modules on numerous topics in geriatrics for use across the state.

For more information, contact Fleming at (307) 766-2719 or e-mail dfleming@uwyo.edu.


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