North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System
Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center: Education & Evaluation
Constance R. Uphold, Ph.D., ARNP, BC, FAAN
Associate Director for Education and Evaluation
The Gainesville GRECC provides educational activities, clinical consultation, and outreach services to advance scientific understanding and knowledge of the aging population. These activities are strategically planned to target different groups of students, trainees, professionals, and consumers. The GRECC is the primary provider of didactic and clinical geriatric/gerontological education at the host-VA and affiliated university hospital.
In addition, the Gainesville GRECC, in collaboration with the Miami GRECC, provides education programs and activities for VA employees throughout VISN8. The GRECC collaborates with the University of Florida, Institute of Aging, in extending educational outreach via newsletters, video teleconferencing of research based and clinical seminars, online training programs, and by hosting local and regional educational programs targeted to health professionals caring for older adults. Career development of future clinicians, educators, and researchers whose specialty is caring for the older population is a high priority.
Under the direction of Drs. Miho Bautista and John Meuleman, UF has developed an excellent and innovative two-week required 4th year Geriatrics Clerkship for medical students. Students work at one of four locations- two located in Gainesville, FL and two located in Jacksonville, FL. Students serve as acting interns for frail elders in a subacute, rehabilitative, palliative care, or long term care setting. Students manage medical problems and learn how to function as part of an interdisciplinary team.
This highly innovative curriculum was the topic of a well attended workshop at the 2007 American Geriatrics Society National Meeting (Seattle, WA) and greatly augments the one week required third year medical student rotation in geriatrics in the Department of Family Medicine.
Medical students can also participate in the UF Center for the Arts in Healthcare Research and Education (CAHRE), one of four centers selected by the NIA to facilitate contact between medical students and older adults through art. The goals of this program are to increase medical students' awareness and understanding of seniors while encouraging seniors to explore their creative possibilities. The long term objective is to positively influence medical students' attitudes toward geriatrics and/or general internal medicine and how they treat elders in their future practices.
Internal Medicine Residents
GRECC faculty are active participants in the educational experience of Internal Medicine Residents at UF. Faculty attend Morning Report on a regular basis and resent noon conferences and medical ground rounds. All UF Internal Medicine residents have a one month required rotation in geriatrics. Residents participate as physician team members in the Geriatric Evaluation and Management (GEM) and Palliative Care (PCU) Units at the VA Medical Center and participate in outpatient programs at the recently founded Senior Care at Tower Hill Clinic, a private UF Faculty Clinic.
Geriatric Medicine Fellowship
The Geriatric Fellowship, directed by John R. Meuleman, is funded through the VA and administered jointly by the UF and the VA. Annually, four geriatric fellows are accepted. Experience is gained in clinical care, research, teaching and administration. A core curriculum provides basic knowledge of biological and psychological aspects of aging. Lectures, conferences, seminars, a journal club, Grand Rounds and University courses serve as teaching vehicles. Training settings include acute care and ambulatory sites, a teaching nursing home and consultation services. Specific training settings at the VA include the GEM/PCU, primary care clinic, gait/balance clinic; home based primary care, dementia care unit (Lake City) and wheelchair and wound care clinics. UF affiliated training sites include an ambulatory geriatrics clinic at Senior Care at Tower Hill,urodynamics and memory disorders clinics , and the Shands Rehabilitation Hospital. Fellows also rotate through long-term care settings at Oak Hammock. For more information, see the description of the geriatric fellowship on the UF web site.
For Other Health Professionals
The GRECC provides a diversified array of career development activities for professionals in multiple disciplines. Clinical traineeships in optometry, psychology, social work, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech, audiology, nursing and pharmacy are available - see OAA website link. To enhance the knowledge and skills of the next generation of professionals caring for our older population, the GRECC plans interdisciplinary learning activities, such a clinical experiences in the VA GEM (Geriatric Evaluation Management) and the Palliative Care units, weekly aging and geriatrics clinical seminars, and periodic networking events.
In addition, the GRECC offers career development programs for professionals who are interested in research careers in aging. Pre- and post-doctoral fellowships are available for nurses. In collaboration with the VA Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (CINDRR), the VA Brain Rehabilitation Outcomes Research Center (BRRC), and the University of Florida Institute of Aging and Geriatrics, the GRECC offers weekly interdisciplinary lectures, career develepopment seminars, and workshops in writing grants and manuscripts.