The John A. Hartford Foundation Geriatric Enrichment in Social Work Education Project (GeroRich) has funded
67 social work programs, two-thirds of which include BSW programs. The Project
focuses on planning and implementing organizational and curriculum change to create aging-rich learning opportunities for
all social work students. The planning year emphasized engaging key stakeholders
(deans/directors, faculty, students, practicum instructors and older adults) to expand the number, quality and sustainability
of aging-rich learning experiences (in classroom curricula, field practica, lectures, presentations and other activities). The GeroRich Project is now in the second implementation year.
The two primary criteria guiding implementation are:
on infusion of geriatric social work content into generalist courses.
or institutionalizing geriatric social work content in the organizational culture and curriculum so that it will continue
after funding ends.
The GeroRich projects have made some innovative and exciting changes to date. Many projects have modified the New York Academy of Medicine or CSWE SAGE-SW geriatric social work competencies to fit their curricula. Faculty,
students and practitioners have participated in retreats to learn about aging and agree on curricular changes. Students are being exposed to gerontological knowledge, skills and values through the classroom, practica,
and interest groups. Teaching modules that focus on specific topics, such as
multicultural practice, assessment, and policy, have been developed in cooperation with faculty and practitioners. Practica in aging have been expanded and marketed to students, and field instructors have participated
in gerontological training. In addition, generalist practica have been expanded
to include some contact with an older adult.
Winter regional workshops for project directors provided opportunities to learn from each other’s
successes and challenges. The workshops started with small group discussions
in the areas of Faculty Engagement, Student Recruitment, Curriculum Infusion, and Gerontology as Pedagogy. Lively and fruitful discussions evolved as project directors shared what has worked and not worked, and
the implications of these changes for their specific programs. Major themes from these discussions are relevant to other programs
seeking to infuse gerontology in their curricula. Please see our GeroRich
website (www.gerorich.org) for preliminary lessons learned that can be transferred to a wide range of educational settings.
Project directors also displayed website, videos, teaching modules, board games on aging, and extensive
course syllabi at the regional resource fairs. For the 2003 BPD meeting, a similar
format for sharing and disseminating resources will be available in the exhibit hall, at specified times.
Project directors also participated in presentations and discussions on sustainability, facilitated by
June Simmons from Partnerships in Care, Kaiser Permanente in California (West
coast meeting) and Kathryn Hyer, co PI of the Hartford GIT (Geriatric Interdisciplinary Team Project) and from the University
of South Florida. (East coast meeting). Key points from the presentations and
discussion included: conceptualizing change as an evolution, engaging people with your vision, collaborating at every opportunity,
and being visible wherever you can (e.g., marketing yourself). Copies of
Dr. Hyer and Ms. Simmons’ PowerPoint presentations are available on the GeroRich website (www.gerorich.org).
Although the third year of the project focuses on evaluation and dissemination, both processes are already
underway. The evaluation instruments used by project directors are being compiled and will be available on the GeroRich website
in the near future. We have also developed a preliminary summary and synthesis of Project Innovations, which will be continuously
updated. For more current information GeroRich project innovations and lessons
learned, please check out the GeroRich website at www.gerorich.org. (Go to Resources and Teaching Tools).