Established in 1996, RIGEC began as one of 45 federal geriatric education centers (GECs) dedicated solely to providing interprofessional geriatrics education and training to heath care practitioners, direct services workers, medical trainees, health professions students and academic faculty. Under the direction of Phillip G. Clark, ScD, RIGEC has been administratively housed at the URI College of Human Science and Service, Program in Gerontology and has operated as a consortium of Rhode Island’s strongest academic programs, hospitals and key community agencies.
Funding for the GEC and other geriatrics training programs are authorized under Titles VII and VIII of the Public Health Service Act. Congress distributes these funds through training grants administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
RIGEC’s interprofessional programs are offered to clinicians, professionals and trainees within the health care fields. A majority of our attendees stem from nursing, social work, medicine, pharmacy, and allied health; however, a variety of other professionals and direct service workers will attend programs including individuals from nutrition, dentistry, optometry, theology, recreation, public safety, and senior living/residential care.
In July 2015, RIGEC became one of the 44 organizations in 29 states to be awarded a HRSA training grant (Cooperative Agreement #U1QHP28737) to implement the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP). The purpose of the GWEP is to improve health outcomes for older adults by integrating geriatrics into primary care delivery systems and maximizing patient and family engagement. Learn more by viewing URI Press Release.
RIGEC will work along side GWEP Collaborating Entities to develop a comprehensive interprofessional geriatrics education model for patient-centered practice in primary care educational and clinical settings across the state. Through implementation of the GWEP we will:
- Prepare health professions trainees to practice in and lead integrated geriatrics and primary care settings.
- Develop providers who can assess and address the needs of older adults and their families by integrating interprofessional geriatrics education into primary care delivery systems to provide coordinated, comprehensive, patient/family-centered health care.
- Develop and offer community-based education programs for patients, families and caregivers to improve the management of multiple chronic conditions.
- Provide Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias education to health professions students, providers, patients, families, and caregivers.
Over the past 18 years, RIGEC has delivered hundreds of trainings providing over 4000 area professionals with the specialized knowledge and skills need to care for older adults.