Montana Geriatric Education

Center  Review Recommendation

(Academic Policy 103)

A. Written Report Summary:

1.     Purpose: 
The purpose of the Montana Geriatric Education Centers is to "provide geriatric education and training for Montana health care professionals, higher education faculty, and health profession students, so that they might better meet the needs of the older residents of the state."

2.     Objectives:   
The center plans to add three new areas in its geriatric education and training programs: health literacy, curricular partnerships, and health screening for geriatric populations. 

3.     Anticipated activities:   
Activities during the next three years will focus on developing new instructional modules for the new topics (e.g., health literacy), continued dissemination and use of existing training modules, and increasing opportunities for health professions students to participate in rural outreach screening programs.  The target audiences are current and future (i.e., students) healthcare and social work practitioners who will practice in states like Montana.  The outreach screening program will involve MUS students from multiple disciplines/campuses and reach patients in a variety of settings across Montana. 

Training materials will continue to be delivered via a web-based curriculum, an annual conference, and continuing education sessions offered live and via videoconferencing to reach practitioners around the state.  The more general themes of healthcare in the elderly will be tailored to the communities and cultural diversity of the Montana population to be served by health providers and students (future providers).  MTGEG programs will emphasize rural health care to medically underserved populations including American Indians, cultural and linguistic competency, interdisciplinary training and care, and health promotion and wellness.

4.     Other organizations involved: Consortium Members and Administrative Board

The Montana Geriatric Education Center is currently composed of faculty or representatives from three institutions (The University of Montana, Montana Tech, and a continuing medical education provider, Northwest Research & Education Institute, which is located in Billings) and expects the addition of MSU nursing faculty along with nursing, medical, and physician assistant students from MSU, WWAMI program, and Rocky Mountain College, respectively.  Within UM, there are three programs involved in the consortium: pharmacy, physical therapy, and social work.

The Administrative Board of the Montana Geriatric Education Center consists of faculty from UM, the Billings Clinic Center and Northwest Research and Education Institute.  The Center Director is Gayle Hudgins from the Department of Pharmacy Practice at The University of Montana

5.     Reporting line:
Because the extramural funding and the Center are housed in the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences, the Director reports to Dean David Forbes.

6.     Relationships with institutional mission and contribution to academic programs:

The Center provides unique educational experiences in geriatrics and gerontology for the faculty, including the many clinical faculty involved in professional training of students, and for students in the health professions and social service fields.  As a consortium, the MTGEC involves faculty, staff, and students in several discipline from several institutions across the state in its work.  The Center's theme of Partnerships Under the Big Sky describes the many relationships that have been formed and will be strengthened in the coming years.  Finally, through its geriatric health screening initiative the MTGEG will be providing a direct service to many elderly Montana citizens in both urban and rural settings.

The Montana Geriatric Education Center contributes to the academic programs of the university in two areas. 

a.     Through the development and refinement of the curriculum on the Health Care Problems of the Elderly, 34 existing modules and a number of new modules will be made available for use in the classroom and for online education.  Existing modules include 5 core modules, 5 education modules, 9 health problem modules with accompanying case studies, and 5 geriatric screening modules, all of which will be updated in the next three years.  In addition, several new modules will be developed and added to the curriculum.

b.    The geriatric health screening initiative will provide health profession students in pharmacy, physical therapy, social work, nursing, medicine and the physician assistant program with the opportunity to gain clinical experience in rural setting with a diverse patient population.  Clients will be provided with screening and education for problems associated with bone density, lipids, hemoglobin A1c, and blood pressure by students, under supervision of faculty.

The Director estimates between 100-200 students from several health and social disciplines have participated in the interdisciplinary hospital-based case conferences, and several hundred practitioners have participated in the annual meeting educational sessions or completed the independent study modules.

7.     Similar programs:
Of the 48 Geriatric Education Centers (GEC) funded nationwide, only four are located in the Pacific Northwest/Northern Rockies area.  In addition to the Montana Geriatric Education Center, they include the Alaska Geriatric Education Center at University of Alaska Anchorage, the Northwest Geriatric Education Center at the University of Washington, and the Wyoming Geriatric Education Center at the University of Wyoming.  There are no other similar programs in the state.

8.     Budget:
The program is supported by extramural funding from the federal GEC initiative.  It was recently renewed for another three years of support.  For two faculty participants, the funds are used to buy-out 0.3 FTE faculty time (0.2FTE for Director, 0.1FTE for Board member) and pay for portions of three administrative and one clinical staff position (2.58FTE total). administrative associate and 0.8FTE assistant director).  No new faculty or staff lines are anticipated over the next five years.  All positions are grant-funded with no other funds being used.

Other needs
The grant funding for the Montana Geriatric Education Center provides an operating budget for the program, covering office supplies, printing and postage, library materials, computer or other equipment needs, telecommunication expense, and travel associated with the project.  The College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences is providing 2.5 offices for the various staff involved with the project as well as administrative and computer support services.  

Sources of Funding
The Montana Geriatric Education Center is funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in the US Department of Health and Human Services.  Currently, funding for MTGEC is approved for a three year cycle in the amount of $1,074,160 with $331,709 allocated for the current year.  MTGEC will have to compete for additional funding in 2010.  No state or private funds currently support the Center.

B. Review and Approval Process
2.  The Faculty Senate through its Chair, who in turn shall distribute it to ECOS and other committees, and approve or disapprove the proposal by a vote of the Senate.

Review in terms of Scope as stated in academic policy 100.0
To provide instruction, scholarship, or service to the University, state or world by:  (1) focusing attention on an area of strength and/or addressing a critical issue, or (2) facilitating collaborative, multi-disciplinary endeavors to combine resources from several programs or institutions to address issues of common interest.

Review in terms of the University's mission.

§   Comments:

§   Does ECOS/Faculty Senate consider this center controversial?   NO

§   Is the relationship with academic units beneficial?                        YES

§   Is the program revenue neutral or does it consume more resources than it generates? If so, is the use of University resources justified?                                       REVENUE NEUTRAL

§   Is the entity making progress toward objectives?                          Cannot fully assess.  It has produced learning modules and built a multi-institutional consortium but there are no numbers related to number of students or providers who have completed training or are using the information.

Recommendation:  The Center should continue its work and seek renewal of its funding in 2010. 

Justification: The Center is funded by extramural sources at this time and has contributed positively to the academic mission of the University.