University of Utah College of Nursing Awarded $1 Million for Geriatric Nursing Center of Excellence

University of Utah College of Nursing Awarded $1 Million for Geriatric Nursing Center of Excellence

Sep 26, 2007 6:00 PM

Salt Lake City--The University of Utah College of Nursing has been awarded $1 million by the John A. Hartford Foundation to better prepare nurses to care for geriatric patients. The funding establishes the University of Utah Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence and is designed to increase the number of faculty qualified to teach geriatric nursing. The new center is one of nine in the United States funded by the foundation.

Geriatric care is a top priority for the University, according to A. Lorris Betz, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health sciences, "This award brings a new level of prestige to the College of Nursing and also encourages interdisciplinary collaboration," Betz said. The University of Utah Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence will prepare nurses for a rapidly changing population and, specifically, will prepare nurse faculty to educate new generations of nurses.

The U's College of Nursing has a 30-year commitment to gerontology and geriatric nursing education, according to Maureen Keefe, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., professor and dean of the college. The new center will capitalize on the strength of college's interdisciplinary collaborations in geriatric research, education and practice, as well as a number of aging-related studies and access to exclusive regional and national partnerships.

This is one of several significant recent awards that places the College of Nursing among the most elite schools in the nation, said Keefe. We continue to develop new and innovative programs and partnerships to respond to the changing needs of the population of Utah and the region.

Keefe notes the University of Utah Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence will have national impact by expanding the number of highly qualified geriatric nursing faculty prepared to teach in nursing programs throughout the country. A specialized program using distance Ph.D. education will prepare nurse scientists for teaching careers in research-intensive universities. Students will attend classes through an internet-based videoconferencing system that establishes a virtual classroom. Students can enroll from anywhere in the United States or Canada without re-locating to Utah.

Universal geriatric training for advanced-practice nurses and faculty who teach beginning nurses will have an impact in Utah and the Intermountain Region. Most adult patients in hospitals, home care, and clinics are older than 65, and to treat this growing population, all masters and doctorate of nursing-practice students in specialties that care for adults will take enhanced geriatric coursework. Some students will undertake more extensive class work and clinical training, graduating as experts in caring for older patients and becoming faculty for basic and advanced-practice nursing programs in community colleges and universities. The majority of these students come from Utah or the Intermountain West and remain in the region after receiving their degrees.

The college's Ginette A. Pepper, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., will serve as the Centers executive director. Patricia Berry, Ph.D., A.P.R.N., B.C., and Dale Lund, Ph.D., F.G.S.A., will serve as associate directors.

About the John A. Hartford Foundation: Founded in 1929, the John A. Hartford Foundation is a committed champion of training, research and service system innovations that promote the health and independence of America 's older adults. Through its grant making, the Foundation seeks to strengthen the nation's capacity to provide effective, affordable care to this rapidly increasing older population by educating "aging-prepared" health professionals (physicians, nurses, social workers), and developing innovations that improve and better integrate health and supportive services. The Foundation was established by John A. Hartford. Mr. Hartford and his brother, George L. Hartford, both former chief executives of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, left the bulk of their estates to the Foundation upon their deaths in the 1950s. Today, the Foundation is America's leading philanthropy with a sustained interest in aging and health.


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