ACOA History

The Arizona Center on Aging (ACOA) was established as a Long-Term Care Gerontology Center, funded under Title IV-E, Older Americans Act through the U.S. Administration on Aging. It was a national resource for the education and training of health and social service personnel, the development and testing of model services, interdisciplinary research and the provision of information and technical assistance on long-term care issues.

1980

Under the direction of Theodore H. Koff, Ed.D., Professor in the Eller College of Business and Public Administration, and Kristine M. Bursac, M.P.A. (Associate Director), the Arizona Center on Aging was established as one of a network of Long Term Care (LTC) Gerontology Centers authorized by Title IV-E of the Older Americans Act and funded by the Administration on Aging. These centers functioned as national resources for the education and training of health and social service personnel, the development and testing of model services, interdisciplinary research and the provision of information and technical assistance on long-term care issues. In Arizona, with the goal to assume a leadership role in helping shape policies and programs related to aging in Arizona, the LTC Gerontology Center was a partnership among the University of Arizona, College of Medicine (Louis J. Kettel, MD, Dean), the Arizona Agencies on Aging, and the Arizona State Unit on Aging.

1991

Following the establishment of the Section of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, John T. Boyer, MD, the first Section Chief and one of the UA College of Medicine’s founding physicians assumed the position as co-Director.  ACOA was one of the original Board of Regents approved Centers of Excellence in the Arizona Health Sciences Center. 

2001

Sponsorship of ACOA was assumed by the University of Arizona Colleges of Nursing and Public Health under the co-Direction of Linda R. Phillips, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, FGSA, Professor and Associate Dean for Research at the UA College of Nursing; and Evan W. Kligman, M.D., Clinical Professor of Public Health, and a board-certified family practitioner and geriatrician.  

2002

The Arizona Geriatric Education Center (AzGEC) was funded for 10 years by the Health Services Resource Administration. In the first round of funding Linda R. Phillips, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, FGSA was Principal Investigator (PI).  In the second round, Mindy J. Fain, MD was PI.  AzGEC was consortium of ACOA, the UA Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Agriculture and Life Sciences (Department of Nutrition Sciences), Graduate Program on Gerontology, the Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Health Care System, and two units at Arizona State University (the School of Social Work and the Gerontology Program), the A.T. Still University, Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Northern Arizona University Department of Physical Therapy; and the Arizona Association of Community Health Centers. Its statewide mission was to improve education about geriatrics and geriatric care to practicing health professionals, faculty teaching in health professions programs and health professions students.  

2003

ACOA became home to the UA Interdisciplinary Program on Gerontology which offered a certificate in gerontology as well as a Master’s Degree in Gerontology and a doctoral minor.  

2006

Sponsorship of ACOA was assumed by the College of Medicine with co-directors Mindy J. Fain, MD, Anne & Alden Hart Professor of Medicine and Section Chief of Geriatrics, General Internal Medicine and Palliative medicine in the Department of Medicine and Janko Nikolich-Žugich, MD, PhD, Chair, Department of Immunobiology
Professor of Immunobiology and Associate Director, Biology of Aging Research Program. 

2006 & 2013

Under the direction of Mindy J. Fain, MD, the Arizona Reynolds Program of Applied Geriatrics was funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to build an infrastructure of excellence in geriatric education and training for Arizona’s physicians in geriatric care, with an emphasis on hospitalists and surgical and medical specialists including those in emergency medicine; pulmonary/critical care; and orthopedics. 

2015

ACOA was among 44 organizations in 29 states to receive a grant under the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP).   Under the direction of Mindy J. Fain, MD (PI) and M. Jane Mohler, NP-C, MPH, PhD (Co-PI), the Arizona GWEP was designed to improve the quality of health care for Arizona’s older adults by integrating geriatrics with primary care, maximizing patient and family engagement and transforming the health care system. It involved strong local, regional and statewide partners that include Banner Health, Arizona State University’s College of Nursing & Health Innovation and School of Social Work, the Indian Health Service, Southern Arizona Veteran’s Administration Health Care System, Alzheimer’s Association – Desert Southwest Chapter, Arizona Community Health Worker Outreach Network, Arizona’s Area Agencies on Aging, the five strategically located regional Arizona Area Health Education Centers (AHECs); 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 are Long Term Care Facilities, White Mountain Apache Tribe Senior Services, Hopi Tribe Senior Services.