Arizona Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (AzGWEP)

Safely Home, and Aging in Place

Welcome to the Arizona Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (AzGWEP)! The mission of our AzGWEP is to improve the health and wellbeing of seniors by educating and training health care professionals in the special health care needs of this rapidly growing group. Seniors need skilled health care professionals working together so that they can remain as independent as possible, and stay safely home, and aging in place.

Meet Our Board Members

Where are we?

The AzGWEP has developed a remarkably successful statewide consortium and is a leader in interprofessional education. Our partners include: the University of Arizona Colleges of Nursing, Medicine, Pharmacy and Public Health; the Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation and College of Public Programs-School of Social Work; the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System; and the five strategically located regional Arizona Area Health Education Centers (AHECs); in addition to several Community Health Center Organizations, Indian Health Service units, integrated care companies (The Hospitalist) and tribal units such as Tohono O’odham Nation Senior Services/Adult Protective Services & TO Long Term Care Facilities, White Mountain Apache Tribe Senior Services, Hopi Tribe Senior Services and other community partners.

Funded since 2002 by the Bureau of Health Professions, Health Resources and Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, the AzGWEP is hosted by the Arizona Center on Aging, a Board of Regents Center of Excellence in the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center.

Who do we help?

Our AzGWEP targets all of Arizona's elders throughout our state; with an emphasis on community-dwelling seniors aged 65 and older who are living with complex chronic conditions. These elders need skilled health care professionals working together so that they can remain safe and independent at home. Transitions of care are particularly difficult, as frail elders are at risk of functional decline or death as they move across the care continuum, from home and primary care, to emergency department and hospital, to skilled nursing and rehabilitation, and back to home with home health support.

Arizona has 63 areas and 72 facilities which are designated as Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and Medically Underserved Areas (MUAs) (2009), adding considerable stress to our statewide system. The health care needs of Arizona’s aging population are complex and considerable – and the AzGWEP provides critically important interprofessional education and training throughout our large and highly rural state.

Who are we? Meet our interprofessional core faculty

A key strength of our AzGWEP  is our highly interprofessional (IP) core faculty, who are responsible for developing, implementing and assessing our education and training activities. We have national expertise in many geriatric content and pedagogical areas including: health literacy (Barry Weiss, MD), geriatric models of care (Mindy Fain, MD) self-care and chronic disease management (Jane Mohler, MSN, FNP, PhD), complementary and alternative medicine (Karen D’Huyvetter, ND, MS), health communication (Jake Harwood, PhD), elder abuse issues and mentor (Lisa O’Neill, MPH), polypharmacy management (Jeannie Lee, PharmD), palliative care in advancing chronic conditions (Ellyn Lee, MD), peri-surgical transitions of care (Rosemary Browne, MD), geriatric nursing care (Colleen Keller, PhD, FAHA, FNAP), and geriatric social work (Teri Kennedy, PhD, MSW), in addition to other expertise.

Our Faculty

What are our specific objectives for the 2016 AzGWEP? We will:

1.     Improve the interdisciplinary training of health professionals in Arizona in geriatrics;

2.     Develop and disseminate curricula in Arizona relating to the treatment of the health problems of elderly individuals;

3.     Support the training and retraining of faculty in Arizona to provide instruction in geriatrics;

4.     Support continuing education of health professionals in Arizona who provide geriatric care;

5.     Provide students in Arizona with clinical training in geriatrics in nursing homes, chronic and acute disease hospitals, ambulatory care centers, senior centers and homes;

6.     Improve access of elders from ethnic minority groups in Arizona to a capable, diverse, and culturally competent health professions workforce in geriatrics; and

7.     Improve training of health professionals providing care to the vulnerable and culturally diverse populations in Arizona, especially in rural areas.

Our goal is to build a skilled health professional geriatric workforce to keep our seniors Safely Home, and Aging in Place.