University of Pittsburgh
October 5, 1999



PITTSBURGH, Oct. 5 -- The Geriatric Education Center of Pennsylvania (GEC/PA), with headquarters in the Gerontology Program at the University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR) at Pitt, has received a three-year, $756,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Established in 1985, GEC/PA is part of a nationwide network of over 40 geriatric education centers funded by the Bureau of Health Professions, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide both short and extended education and training opportunities for health professions faculty, practitioners, students and others to enhance the quality and availability of health care for older adults.

Collaborating partners are the Penn State University Gerontology Center and the Temple University Institute on Aging. Other participants in specific GEC/PA initiatives include the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, the Pennsylvania Optometry Association, and the Pennsylvania College of Optometry.

According to Richard Schulz, director of both UCSUR and GEC/PA, emphasis over the next three years will be on cultural competence training for providers of health care to minority geriatric populations, continuing professional education concerning diseases affecting elderly women, and educational programming for long term care facilities in isolated and medically underserved areas of rural Pennsylvania.

Additionally, new continuing education curricula in geriatric optometry and elder foot health will be developed, a pre-professional certificate program in geriatric dentistry will be introduced and current initiatives will be expanded. These include programs on osteoporosis, pain evaluation and management, legal issues and dental care needs of Alzheimer's patients.