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Emory University receives $5 million grant to improve geriatric care and education
Physician talking with an elderly patient

Emory University has been awarded a $5 million cooperative agreement by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to enhance geriatric care and education for health care workers in Georgia's urban and rural areas. This five-year funding will support Georgia Gear (Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program), operated through the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.

The program aims to improve clinical care and quality of life for older adults and their families across Georgia through three critical areas:

  • Developing partnerships to create age- and dementia-friendly integrated geriatrics and primary care sites.
  • Providing interprofessional geriatrics training in underserved and rural primary care sites.
  • Establishing education and training programs statewide.

Georgia faces a shortage of geriatricians, as only 27 percent of the specialists needed to care for a rapidly growing aging population are currently available. This underscores the importance of programs aimed at enhancing education and training efforts to improve health outcomes statewide.

“Thanks to the HRSA award, we will be able to equip Georgia health professionals to better care for older adults in various settings,” says Ted Johnson. MD, MPH, co-program director and chair of Emory’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. “We will collaborate across institutions and disciplines to train healthcare workers and offer more wellness programs to older adults.”

The Georgia Gear program will partner with organizations including Georgia Memory Net, the Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Area Health Education Center, the Technical College System of Georgia, Emory Healthcare, the Atlanta VA Health Care System, and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM).

Additional academic partners include Mercer University College of Health Professions, Mercer School of Medicine, the Gerontology Institute at Georgia State University and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine-South Georgia campus. Community program partners include AlterDementia LLC, the Atlanta Medical Association, Dad’s Garage Community Theatre, the Georgia Cherokee Community Alliance and Reckon Branding.

“Our work will focus on multi-level strategies from church to clinic and classroom to charting,” says Miranda Moore, PhD, co-program director and associate professor at Emory University School of Medicine. “For example, the team will focus on improving patient health through the Medicare Annual Wellness visit, fall risk screening, ADRD caregiver education, and opioid misuse screening, as well as partnering with primary care providers to deliver evidence-based care.”

To best assess outcomes, the program will evaluate how new knowledge is gained and the effect of this on quality of care delivered. 

This grant marks the third time Emory and partners have received funding from HRSA for work in geriatrics care and patient outcomes, following awards in 2010-2015 and 2019-2024. All have been aimed at developing the geriatric workforce and improving regional health outcomes through education.

“We need more health care providers in Georgia who are trained to care for the unique needs that come with aging, and we believe this funding can have a tremendous impact,” says Sandra L. Wong, dean of Emory University School of Medicine and chief academic officer for Emory Healthcare. “I’m very excited that this program also addresses the need for training in rural settings,” she adds.

HRSA, which is funding this new statewide program (1 U1QHP53036), is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for improving health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically, or medically vulnerable.

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