UNE receives funding for fourth year of grant to support programs for older adults

exterior of COM building

UNE has received funding for the fourth year of a federal grant to support The Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP), known as AgingME.

The $749, 800 was awarded to UNE by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) promotes development of the health care workforce and quality care for older adults through community-based programs that equip patients, families, and caregivers with the knowledge and skills to improve quality of care and health outcomes among older adults.

“I am grateful to HRSA for this continuation award, which will allow us to build on our successes to date and further expand our efforts to create an age-friendly health system in Maine,” stated Susan Wehry, M.D., associate professor and director of AgingME at UNE's College of Osteopathic Medicine (UNECOM).

The award is part of an overall 5-year, $3.75M GWEP grant. UNECOM, working in close collaboration with the University of Maine and multiple statewide partners, was one of 48 organizations nationally to receive this funding.

To date, AgingME has established a statewide presence through collaborative partnerships with all five Area Agencies on Aging, the University of Maine, Maine Health, Northern Light, and a federally qualified health center (FQHC).

Innovative projects funded by this grant have included the Maine Academy for Geriatric Interprofessional Continuing Education 18-month program for physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners (MAGIC); a Dementia Reconsidered series that incorporates the voices of people living with dementia; a Writer’s Corner to capture the voices of all older adults who want to tell their stories; a pandemic inspired Resilience and Self-Care workshop for staff serving the island communities served by Seacoast Mission; a forum for delivering high-quality specialty care to underserved communities called Project ECHO; and a Healthy Aging series at the MacArthur Public Library.

“I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish in the first three years of this HRSA-funded Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program,” says Wehry. “I look forward to working with all of our partners in the upcoming year.”

AgingME is the latest addition to UNECOM’s long list of highly successful geriatrics and applied gerontology programs, including Geriatrics Education Mentors (GEMS), Hospice Immersion, the RAND scholars program, geriatrics research, and MatureCare community medicine clerkships.

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