University of Southern Indiana
older woman at doctor's office

About the GWEP

In 2019, the University of Southern Indiana’s College of Nursing and Health Professions received a $3.7 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to implement the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP).

The purpose of this project is to improve health outcomes for older adults in underserved communities of southwest Indiana by developing a workforce to maximize patient and family engagement and integrate geriatrics into primary care. To implement the five-year project, USI is collaborating with three Deaconess primary care clinics, the Deaconess Family Medicine Residency Program and two Area Agencies on Aging (SWIRCA & More and Generations).

The project is under the direction of Dr. Katie Ehlman, Professor of Gerontology and Director of the USI Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness.

The GWEP has allowed a unique model of care in which Area Agency on Aging case managers are embedded in three Deaconess primary care clinics, connecting primary care with social service sectors in order to improve health outcomes for elders. These care managers are in a position to offer education and resources for both patients and health care providers in the areas of dementia care, opioid misuse, advance care planning, diabetes management, fall risk assessment and more.

Meet the GWEP Team

Watch and Learn More

USI GWEP: An Overview
By the year 2030, one out of every five people will be an older adult. The University of Southern Indiana Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) is helping provide innovative models of care and education that support growth and development across the lifespan. Collaborating with community partners, the USI GWEP is involved with several forward-thinking initiatives with a common goal: making the lives of older adults better.

Live Where and How You Wish
Growing older can cause concern for a person who wants to stay in their own home. Safety, isolation, poor eating and other lifestyle choices often make living at home a challenge. The University of Southern Indiana Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program’s (GWEP) Minka Learning Lab for Living Well on the USI campus is a showcase based on smart home technology and artificial intelligence to demonstrate what is possible for independent living. Live where and how you wish!

Improving Health Through Evidence-Based Programs
Activities that have been scientifically tested and shown to be effective, are called “evidence-based programs.” The University of Southern Indiana Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) collaborates with two Area Agencies on Aging to implement these “best practice” strategies to improve health and wellness of older adults. Learn more about how programs focused on fall prevention, mental health, chronic disease and diabetes help people maintain independence and learn ways to keep themselves healthy in the future as they age.

Engaging Students
Career opportunities for students interested in working with older adults are expanding. The University of Southern Indiana Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) is providing educational opportunities and “real world” experience for college students of all majors in the areas of geriatric healthcare, smart home technology, dementia friendly communities, telehealth, artificial intelligence and more.

Advance Care Planning and What Matters Most
Advance Care Planning (ACP) is the process of reflection, planning and discussion of future medical care in the event you are unable to speak or make your own decisions. The ACP model embedded in the University of Southern Indiana Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) is a collaborative effort. An interdisciplinary, inter-organization team functions within an organized system to improve the lives of older adults and educate future healthcare professionals, focusing on what matters most in life.

Let’s Talk about Dementia
The stigma surrounding dementia needs to be stomped out. This can happen by creating awareness and learning about dementia within communities. The University of Southern Indiana Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) is helping people, businesses and organizations work together in dementia friendly communities to embrace a culture supportive of people living with dementia and their care partners. Let’s talk about dementia!

Three internationally-known experts are serving as consultants for the GWEP: Dr. Rebecca Sudore, professor of medicine in the University of California, San Francisco Division of Geriatrics, staff physician at the UCSF-affiliated San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System, and creator of the PREPARE for Your Care advance care planning program; Dr. Bill Thomas, geriatrician and innovator with a quarter century of experience with creating and replicating new approaches to health and well-being; and Teepa Snow, occupational therapist and renowned dementia-care educator who is the owner and CEO of Positive Approach, LLC.

To learn more about how you can be involved with the USI GWEP,

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