(July 12, 2019) – Cizik School of Nursing will partner with Baylor College of Medicine’s Department of Medicine on a new grant awarded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that will focus on integrating geriatrics into primary care training.

The grant will support the establishment of the South East Texas Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (SETx-GWEP), a network of health professions schools and community-based organizations to develop a healthcare workforce that maximizes patient and family engagement while improving health outcomes for older adults by integrating geriatrics and primary care.

The grant is funded for five years, beginning this month.

Partners include: Baylor College of Medicine; Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and integrated primary care network; BakerRipley Senior Services; Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center; University of Houston Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy; Lone Star Family Medical Center; HOPE Clinic; Harris Health Geriatrics program; Cizik School of Nursing and UTHealth School of Dentistry; Texas Southern University College of Pharmacy; Montrose Center; and Texas Women’s University. 

Aanand Naik, MD, acting chief of geriatric medicine in the Department of Medicine at Baylor and SETx-GWEP co-director, said that there can be challenges when it comes to building a workforce prepared to care for an aging America. Naik cites the Institute of Medicine’s 2008 report “Retooling for an Aging America,” that states that the nation faces a healthcare crisis “as the number of older patient with more complex health needs increasingly outpaces the number of healthcare providers with the knowledge and skills to adequately care for them.”

  • Educating interprofessional primary care trainees and caregivers on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
  • Recognizing and appropriately treating of geriatric mental health conditions including geriatric depression, anxiety and delirium.
  • Training to identify patient priorities and align care with those priorities within routine primary care appointments, including education on advanced care planning and palliative care.
  • Introducing multilevel strategies in participating primary care networks to help maintain patient function and mobility through transitions of care.
  • Interprofessional training in geriatric dental health.
  • Training for community gatekeepers and interprofessional primary care trainees in recognizing and reducing elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

Training to promote an integrated geriatrics and primary care model requires a collaborative approach. The SETx-GWEP will be a united partnership of academic institutions, community-based organizations and primary care networks.

A collaborative team will lead the SETx-GWEP network. From Cizik School of Nursing, Assistant Professor Sabrina Pickens, PhD, RN, is a program associate director. Collaborators also include Suzie Conway Endowed Professor in Nursing Vaunette P. Fay, PhD, RN, and Associate Professor Mary E. Ross, DrPH, MSN, RN.

In addition to Naik and Pickens, program associate directors include Jane Bavineau, BakerRipley Senior Services; Dr. Kathryn Agarwal, Baylor College of Medicine; Dr. Brian Reed, University of Houston College of Medicine; Kristin Wade, Baylor College of Medicine; and Dr. Ali Asgar-Ali, Baylor College of Medicine and DeBakey VA Medical Center.