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National Grant Will Improve Training in Geriatrics

August 18, 2015

Dr. Maura Brennan, program director of the Geriatric Medicine Fellowship, has been awarded a 3-year $2.25 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to improve medical care for older adults in the Baystate community.

One of the major aims of the project, entitled “The Baystate Regional Geriatrics and Palliative Care Initiative—the Geri-pal TLC (Transformation through Learning and Collaboration) Project,” is to educate and train providers to care for the specific needs of older adults in the Springfield area, including those with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.

Baystate Recognized as National Center of Excellence in Geriatrics

Baystate Health is the only institution in Massachusetts to be receive this award which recognizes it as a national center of excellence in geriatrics education and care.

The Geri-pal project will support new clinical programming in geriatrics and palliative care while expanding interprofessional training for doctors, nurses, social workers, advanced practitioners, pharmacists, students, trainees and others.

Multidisciplinary training will be provided in collaboration with the Springfield College of Social Work, UMass School of Nursing, Elms College Nurse Practitioner programs, BayPath Physician Assistant program, and the Brightwood Personal Care Assistant program. 

In Dr. Brennan’s words, “This combination of service to patients and education of clinicians will transform how we care for older people." 

Exciting Time For Geriatrics Fellows at Baystate

"There will be many opportunities for fellows to assist in crafting new programs, lead interprofessional training activities, and serve as catalysts for change throughout the system," Dr. Brennan said.

Geri-pal resource teams are being formed in the community health centers and in hospice and palliative care. An ACE unit is planned for the hospital and will be the first to incorporate designated end of life beds for dying patients.

Fellows will grow rapidly as clinician educators, develop a high level of expertise in palliative care as well as geriatrics, and will participate in many performance improvement initiatives. According to Dr. Brennan, "The opportunities for professional growth will be outstanding and can be tailored to the career goals of individual fellows."

Baystate is one of only 44 health care organizations in the U.S. to receive funding under this award and the only one in Massachusetts. (More about the grant's impact on health care for older adults in the community)

Dr. Brennan, a recent winner of the Inspirational Physician Award given by the American Medical Association Women Physicians Section, was also among the inaugural group of hospice physicians to pass the first examination to earn the credential of Hospice Medical Director Certified.™