The Gerontological Society of America has announced a three-year, $1.35 million grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation to establish the Hartford/GSA National Center on Gerontological Social Work Excellence.
The new center will build on the work of the Hartford Geriatric Social Work Initiative, which since 1999 has been coordinated by GSA. Among other things, the center will collaborate with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to develop leaders in social work research who can advance evidence-based knowledge relevant to VA practice in aging; mobilize the HGSWI Alumni Network to use its expertise to shape practice and policy; and create five Hartford Academic Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work at institutions of higher education.
Currently, only 5 percent of the 220,000 licensed social workers who provide services to older adults and their families in the United States have specialized in gerontology. The Hartford Foundation has invested more than $62 million to date to address the shortage in trained geriatric social workers.
"The grant builds on our many successes over the last thirteen years and gives us an opportunity to shift our attention to better infusing social work healthcare practice with evidence-based knowledge," said GSA deputy executive director Linda Harootyan, who will serve as program director of the center. "Interdisciplinary collaboration and partnership, a core of GSA's mission, will be a cornerstone of this effort."