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Hartford grants increase support for geriatric social work training

The prestigious Hartford Doctoral Fellows and Hartford Faculty Scholars programs today awarded over $1.25 million in combined new grants to eleven researchers in the field of geriatric social work.

Both programs funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation and administered by The Gerontological Society of America are components of the nationwide Geriatric Social Work Initiative (GSWI), which seeks to expand the training of social workers in order to improve the health and well being of older people and their families. Over 180 individuals have received grants to date.

The 2009 fellows and scholars are examining such topics as case management collaboration; addressing the spiritual needs of older adults; social resources and their influence on health outcomes; and volunteerism among bereaved spouses.

Many recent reports (most notably the Institute of Medicine's 2008 "Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Workforce") state that America faces a shortage of providers with the knowledge and skills to adequately care for its rapidly increasing over-65 population.

The GSWI addresses this concern by collaborating with social work programs, organizations, and other funders around the country to meet the demand for social workers with training in geriatrics. These professionals help people understand and choose from an array of available health and social services.

The Hartford Doctoral Fellows Program welcomes two new distinguished doctoral students. Each recipient receives a $50,000 dissertation grant plus $20,000 in matching support from their home institutions, which enables the awardees to concentrate fully on their dissertation research projects over the next two years.

Fellows also receive supplemental academic career guidance and mentoring, as well as professional development to help them successfully launch an academic career in gerontology and social work. James Lubben, DSW, MPH, of Boston College directs the national program committee that selects the fellows. The newest cohort is listed below:

Kimberly J. Johnson
University of Massachusetts at Boston
Dissertation Topic: Volunteering Among Surviving Spouses: The Impact of Volunteer Activity on the Health of the Recently Widowed

Dennis Kao
University of Southern California
Dissertation Topic: State Variations in Linguistic Competency Policies and the Effects on Access to Health Services Among Older Immigrant Populations

Nine outstanding individuals have been chosen as the newest inductees into the Hartford Faculty Scholars Program. They will be provided with opportunities for professional development and $100,000 in funding over the next two years.

Now in its tenth year, the award aims to improve the lives of older adults by increasing the number of adequately trained geriatric social workers. Barbara Berkman, DSW, PhD, of Columbia University directs the national program committee that selects the recipients. Listed below are the new faculty scholars and their primary research topics:

Keith Anderson, PhD
The Ohio State University
Research Topic: Family Caregiving for Holocaust Survivors: Understanding the Effects of Trauma

Sunha Choi, PhD
SUNY at Binghamton
Research Topic: Disparities in Out-of-Pocket Financial Burden and Total Health Care Expenditures Among Recently-Arrived Older Immigrants

Nancy Giunta, PhD
Hunter College
Research Topic: Case Management Collaboration: A Pilot Study of a Consortium Model of Service Delivery in New York City

Jung-Hwa Ha, PhD
University of Chicago
Research Topic: Impact of Health Decline on Older Adults' Social Relationships: Effects of Own and Spouse's Health

David Hodge, PhD
Arizona State University
Research Topic: Addressing Older Adults' Spiritual Needs in Health Care Settings

Shadi Martin, PhD
The University of Alabama
Research Topic: Exploring the Role of the Family in the Decision-Making Process for Breast Cancer Treatment Among Older African American Women

Duy Nguyen, PhD
New York University
Research Topic: Asian American Elders' Social Relationships: Implications for Mental Health and Help-Seeking

Gaynell Simpson, PhD
Morgan State University
Research Topic: Multiple Caregiving Roles Among African American Grandmothers: Influence of Social Resources on Health Outcomes

Halaevalu Vakalahi, PhD
George Mason University
Research Topic: Understanding the Influence of Commitment to and Engagement in Cultural Practices and Culturally Defined Roles on the Health and Well-Being of Pacific Islander American Grandparents


Contact: Todd Kluss
The Gerontological Society of America

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