Eleven graduate students at California State University, Long Beach are part of the first class to receive specialized field education and training in the growing field of geriatric social work as part of the Southern California Geriatric Social Work Education (GSWE) Consortium.
Touted as the nation's first integrated regional social work education project, the GSWE Consortium was initiated to broaden and deepen geriatric education and training for the next generation of social workers. To that end, the consortium will establish and guide new graduate level course and field work in older adult services and care.
"Because we have programs in both social work and gerontology, we were ideally suited to be partners in this consortium. This is a tremendous opportunity," said John Oliver, director of the Social Work Program at Cal State Long Beach who was also involved in the development and implementation of the consortium project. "Students going through this project are going to be in great demand."
The GSWE Consortium is an alliance of social work graduate schools in greater Los Angeles, including programs at Cal State Long Beach, Cal State LA, UCLA and USC. It also includes four regional geriatric service providers--the Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles; the Center for Healthy Aging; Huntington Memorial Hospital's Senior Care Network; and the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center.
The four agencies, designated as Centers of Excellence in Geriatric Training, will also anchor an additional nine social/medical service providers representing Southern California's enormous ethnic and racial diversity in older adult populations.
"This consortium represents a unique joint effort. These centers are the very best in the Los Angeles Basin, and our students will be trained by top practitioners, " Oliver noted. "The consortium will also allow an on-going dialogue to identify areas of needed research and service development, and it can draw upon all four universities to mount that research.
"Additionally, because our program is one that has a thesis requirement for its master's level students, this project will give our students an opportunity to do research with these top practitioners on topics related to aging," he said.
Top students have been selected from the area's four social work graduate programs to rotate through the continuum of geriatric care field work under the supervision of representatives from the four regional service providers.
Amng the 11 graduate students from Cal State Long Beach taking part in the project as interns are: Dianne Barnett (San Juan Capistrano), Taia Davis (North Hollywood), Shelly Estrada (Orange), Kristin Gutavson (Orange), Karen Hoge (Whittier), Salman Husainy (Long Beach), Jennifer Luna (San Gabriel), Cheryl Mathieu (Long Beach), Tamara Nyant (South Pasadena), Chris O'Hanlon (Venice) and Nathan Singer (West Los Angeles).
In addition to Oliver, faculty members representing CSULB in the project include Professors Catherine Goodman and Marilyn Potts, and Barbara Cohen, associate professor and director of field education.
The GSWE Consortium is funded by the Institute for the Advancement of Gerontological Social Work Practice, which was awarded grants totaling more than $1 million by The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Archstone Foundation to respond to the rising demand for specialized social work skills in caring for older adults.
As the lead agency, Partners in Care Foundation is administering the GSWE Consortium project, and it will implement the advanced studies in geriatrics over the next three years. The foundation, under the direction of President & CEO W. June Simmons, serves as a catalyst to help shape a new vision of care. It assists health care providers and community-based organizations in creating, implementing and evaluating new ways of delivering care.
| Public Affairs Offices/Campus News
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