As University of Utah Health Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion prepares for the upcoming MEDiversity Week, the entire U of U Health campus continues to fulfill its mission as an Age-Friendly Health System, committed to care excellence for older adults. In July, the Utah Geriatric Education Consortium (UGEC) had a day-long Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) site visit, which showcased UGEC’s programs alongside its community and University collaborations.
Established in 2015 as a HRSA-funded Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program, the overarching goal of the Consortium is to advance the care older adults in Utah receive. To do this, the UGEC collaborates with community, primary care, and U of U Health partners to develop and implement training programs for the workforce and health professions students that align with the 4Ms of Age-Friendly Health Systems: Mentation, Mobility, Medications, and What Matters.
UGEC also provides community programs that educate older adults and family caregivers about dementia, caregiving, and healthy aging. A full list of UGEC programs and events can be found at utahgwep.org. The Consortium is housed in the College of Nursing—but the work UGEC does is interprofessional and its leadership is comprised of faculty and staff from all University of Utah Health schools and colleges, as well as a number of community organizations.
The HRSA site visit was organized by Linda S. Edelman, PhD, RN, professor of Nursing and the UGEC staff team, and conducted by Jennifer Solomon, MA, the UGEC’s HRSA program officer. The UGEC team provided an overview of all Consortium programs including age- and dementia-friendly training for long-term services and support, geriatrics, and primary care settings; geriatric and gerontology education for health professions students; and community programs for older adults and caregivers.
Over 30 UGEC partners took part in the site visit. University of Utah Health partners included health programs faculty, clinic partners from geriatrics and the Community Physicians Group, and representatives from U of U Health and College of Nursing leadership. Community organization partners attended from the Commission on Aging, Utah Aging and Adult Services, Alzheimer’s Association of Utah, Comagine Health, Solstice Home Health and Hospice, the Utah Health Care Association, and the Homecare and Hospice Association of Utah.
The site visit was an opportunity not only to share UGEC successes with Solomon, but also to highlight the work that all UGEC partners are doing—and how, by working together, we are able to impact care and services more greatly for Utah’s older adults. Solomon commented that the work of the UGEC and its partners exemplify how integrated systems can improve care at a population level. A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis is being performed on the site visit and the results will be used for UGEC strategic and sustainability planning over the next year.
UGEC is pleased to partner with the Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to support the 2023 MEDiversity Week, October 23-27. The theme for this year’s MEDiversity Week is “Care-4-All-Ages,” and the week’s events will bring together the U and larger community to explore how anti-ageism and health inequities impact healthy aging. Planned activities and discussions will also examine how the U of U Health’s Age-Friendly Health System designation is working to secure health equity for all.
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