GWEP Coordinating Center


The Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program Coordinating Center (GWEP-CC) is supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation and serves as a strategic resource for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)’s GWEP programs. The goal of the GWEP-CC is to support GWEPs by providing programming and resources that are tailored to their needs and focused on preparing the healthcare workforce to care for older adults. In 2019, HRSA funded its second cohort of 48 GWEP programs across 35 states and 2 territories (Guam and Puerto Rico), and provided extension grants to 15 former GWEP awardees. Three of the extension awardees have partnered with another GWEP funded in the second cohort.

What is the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program?

The GWEP’s purpose is to improve health outcomes for older adults by developing a healthcare workforce that maximizes patient and family engagement, and by integrating geriatrics and primary care. The goals of this program are: 1) to educate and train the primary care and geriatrics workforce to care for older adults in integrated geriatrics and primary care models, and 2) to partner with community based organizations (CBOs) to address gaps in healthcare for older adults, promote age-friendly health systems and dementia-friendly communities, and address the social determinants of health.

GWEP awardees have the flexibility to identify education and training needs unique to their own communities. GWEPs and their partners include: schools of medicine, schools of nursing, primary care practices, community-based organizations, clinical settings, academia programs, long term care centers, and emergency departments.

The 48 GWEP awardees are working towards:

  • Developing partnerships between academia, primary care delivery sites/systems, and community-based organizations. 
  • Training geriatrics specialists, primary care providers, and health professions students, residents, fellows and faculty to assess and address the primary care needs of older adults.
  • Delivering community-based programming that provides patients, families, caregivers, and direct care workers with the knowledge and skills to improve health outcomes for older adults. 
  • Providing training to patients, families, caregivers, direct care workers, healthcare providers, and health professions students, residents, fellows, and faculty on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias and how cognitive and behavioral impairments impact medical care throughout the course of illness.

What Does the GWEP Coordinating Center Do?

The GWEP-CC supports GWEP awardees by bringing them together for national meetings, providing resources to be used towards products, memberships, and meeting travel, as well as offering other educational and networking opportunities including webinars and advocacy training. 
The GWEP-CC in collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) hosted an Age-Friendly Health Systems (AFHS) Action Community for GWEPs and their primary care practice teams during 2020. The Action Community included access to GWEPOnline, an online community for the GWEPs and their partners, virtual meetings, topical webinars, peer coaching calls, data sharing, and a resource repository. All resources and recordings of meetings, webinars, and calls are archived on GWEPOnline. 

Following the GWEP-CC AFHS Action Community, 12 written case studies were developed by participating GWEP partners from the Action Community. These case studies present a broad range of cases to take learners through their experiences implementing the 4Ms. All GWEP partners who submitted a written case study are recognized by the IHI as either an Age-Friendly Health System Participant (Level-1) or Age-Friendly Health System – Committed to Care Excellence (Level-2). 

In partnership with the GWEP-CC grant, Community Catalyst’s Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation partnered with Rush University Medical Center’s GWEP), CATCH-ON (Collaborative Action Team training for Community Health – Older adult Network), developed a suite of consumer-facing, age-friendly 4Ms materials. These tools, in both English and Spanish, are focused on engaging older adults and family caregivers for better health and can be found by clicking here.  

The overarching aims of the GWEP Coordinating Center are to:

  • Collaborate with the IHI on supporting GWEPs working to incorporate age-friendly approaches into primary care, given IHI’s leadership in building age-friendly health systems. Click here to find out about the GWEP-CC Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Community.
  • Facilitate national collaborative learning across the GWEPs. Access slides from the May 2019 GWEP Preconference sessions IIIIII and IV
  • Offer resources that support the GWEPs in achieving HRSA’s aim for this program.

  • Educate and engage the GWEPs in advocacy for Title VII funding.

The GWEP-CC is led by a team of three co-Principal Investigators, Jan Busby-Whitehead, MD, Ellen Flaherty, PhD, MSN, APRN, and Jane F. Potter, MD, and an Interprofessional Advisory Council.  The GWEP-CC is administered by the AGS.

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