Volume 41, Number 3                                             Winter 2019
   New POM Opportunity 

AGHE Program of Merit Review
for Health Professions Programs

Marilyn R. Gugliucci, Ph.D.
University of New England
In 2017, The Retirement Research Foundation provided funding to advance gerontology and geriatrics education in Higher Education Institution (HEI) Health Professions Programs.
The goal of this grant is to conduct outreach to AGHE member health professions programs (medicine, physician assistant, social work, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc.) to educate the chairs/directors about the AGHE Program of Merit designation for Health Professions Programs. This grant opportunity that will provide support through the AGHE Consultation Program to assist in applying for AGHE POM Status.
In July 1998, the Executive Committee of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) approved a proposal to establish and implement a voluntary program of evaluation known as the Program of Merit (POM). The POM designation provides gerontology programs with an AGHE "stamp of approval," which can be used to verify program quality to administrators, to lobby for additional resources to maintain a quality program, to market the program, and to recruit prospective students into the program.  
In 2015, subsequent to AGHE adopting the Partnership for Health in Aging Health Professions Competencies, the Program of Merit was expanded and adapted to implement a voluntary evaluation process for health professions programs that are choosing to integrate these gerontology/geriatrics competencies to prepare students for working with older adults as well as their informal care partners. These programs are now eligible to apply for the Program of Merit designation.

GSA Pre-Con Recap
Summary of GSA Pre-Conference Workshop  
Age-Friendly Environments: Applying Design Principles from the Classroom  
to the Conference Venue

Pre-conference organizers and presenters:
Dr. Birgit Pianosi
Huntington/Laurentian University, Sudbury, Canada

Dr. Melissa Cannon
Western Oregon University, Monmouth, USA

Dr. Alan DeLaTorre
Portland State University, Portland, USA

Dr. Margaret A. Perkinson
University of Hawaii, Honolulu, USA

We were so happy to present the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education supported pre-conference workshop "Age-Friendly Environments: Applying Design Principles from the Classroom to the Conference Venue" held on November 14, 2018, in Boston, MA at the Gerontological Society of America annual scientific conference.

The twenty participants from North America, Europe and Asia enjoyed a morning of presentations about age-friendly principles and initiatives in the US and Canada, as well as approaches to gathering age-friendly design suggestions. It was a day filled with learning opportunities and inspirations for future teaching and research initiatives. In the afternoon, participants assessed the conference venue making use of different tools shared by organizers and attendees before sharing their results with the group in the form of photographs and short presentations (including a video produced during the 3-hour assessment period!). 

What did we learn? The conference venue had major limitations in its age-friendly design. Many participants complained about the large distances between hotels. For people with walking difficulties it was not easy to get from one part of the conference to another. Participants also interviewed some of the workers at the conference venue, including some of those striking in front of the Sheraton.

Here are some of the age-friendly barriers identified by participants:
  • Glare on the floor due to shiny surfaces
  • Rugs in front of entrance that represented tripping hazards
  • Restaurant's menu signage that was difficult to read (small font size, too much information)
  • Folding signs in hallway were identified as a tripping hazard and barrier for mobility devices
  • Room signage was confusing
  • Steep stairs
  • Steep ramps
Click here for the article with images illustrating a selection of the above barriers.

How Much Do You Know about AGHE's Teaching Institute?
AGHE'S Teaching Institute-What is it?  Why is it? And a Decade in the Making!
Laura K.M. Donorfio, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor 
University of Connecticut 
In 2009 I was a member of AGHE's Executive Committee, and we consistently brainstormed various ways to provide a "value added" service/event to our membership at our annual conferences. If my memory does not elude me, one of our overarching questions was, "What can we provide our members that is unique, needed, and directly related to AGHE's mission?"  In all the years I attended AGHE, I often wondered why there was not much offered in the way of activities related to "teaching our teachers," so I suggested a "Best Teaching Practices" panel consisting of past Distinguished Teacher Award recipients.  Then president Graham Rowles quickly replied, "Great idea Laura, thanks for organizing this!"  Wait a minute, roll back, what did Graham just say?  What did I just get myself into!  There was no taking my suggestion back and how could I say no to Graham with his can-do attitude and infectious smile?  Once the shock wore off, I sat there with my phone in hand and mouth agape for what seemed literally forever, I slowly came back to reality and asked myself over and over, "Where do I begin?"  Graham's unintentional (or perhaps intentional) push and vote of confidence was just what I needed.  What has transpired since this initial brainstorm a decade ago? 
  • A "train the trainers"-style Teaching Institute (pre-conference) that has been implemented for the past 8 years, ranging anywhere from ½ to 2 full days;
  • Exciting, cutting edge topics, focusing on areas such as:  creative engagement strategies, getting students interested in learning about aging, capturing the imagination of our new generation of students (let them keep the phone!), translating AGHE Competencies for Programmatic and Classroom Alignment, teaching effectively in online environments, and intergenerational experiential learning in the classroom and online;
  • Over 23 brave AGHE members, agreeing to share their expertise by presenting and helping create the Institute; and
  • Over 250 brave AGHE members, signing up to learn what the buzz was; Little did they know, we learned just as much from them and how exciting it was!
How have topics been chosen for the Institutes?  While there has been no winning formula to date, each year I have asked presenters, participants, and AGHE leaders for ideas. I also run around each conference like a mad person trying to get a feel for what the new (sometimes old) "buzz" is all about-what are others most interested in, what seems to be lacking, what is new and exciting, etc.  I have walked up to more people that I did not know, with a business card in hand trying to sell and convince them as to why they should be a part of the next AGHE Teaching Institute.  As if I were reading a fortune cookie I would say, "You will get joy out of it!" and "You will be rejuvenated and reminded as to why you are doing what you are doing!"  That approach worked most of the time...

GSA Abstracts    
Education-Related Session Codes for  
Abstract Submissions and Reviewers   
The call for abstracts for the 2019 GSA Annual Scientific Meeting is open from February 1, 2019 - March 14, 2019. Education-related submissions are encouraged. When submitting an abstract, indicate up to two of these session codes:
  • Education and Training
  • Education and Training: Program Evaluation
  • Education and Training: Workforce Development
In addition, reviewers with an expertise in the education area are needed to review submitted abstracts. To participate in the review process, complete the online volunteer form which will be available in February. Be sure to select the education-related session codes for which you'd be willing to review abstracts. More information about serving as a reviewer is available on the GSA website.  
A New Way to Connect with AGHE Colleagues
Join the NEW AGHE Community on GSA Connect
AGHE now has its own community on GSA Connect for members to share information and resources, pose questions, and as AGHE President Judy Howe noted in her Welcome message, "discuss topics of interest to our community such as new curricular materials, resources, teaching strategies and best practices." Through our virtual community we can network, provide each other year-round support, and continue to strengthen the field of gerontology education.

Help us grow the community by taking a few minutes to join. It's easy.
  1. Login to GSA Connect (here's a tutorial on how to login)
  2. On the top blue tool bar, select "Communities"
  3. Select "All Communities" from the drop down menu
  4. Scroll down to "Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) Community"
  5. Click on the "JOIN" button on the right side of the page

Once you have joined, introduce yourself to the community by posting a brief message or replying to one of the messages already there. If you need your login information, email membership@geron.org.
Supporting AGHE Initiatives
Two Exciting Opportunities to Show your Support for AGHE in 2019
Lisa Hollis-Sawyer, Ph.D.  
Associate Professor of Psychology 
Northeastern Illinois University
AGHE has two funds for you to consider supporting as we begin 2019: the Endowment and Tree of Knowledge Funds.
Both funds enable AGHE to advance gerontology and geriatrics education in academic institutions and to provide leadership and support of gerontology and geriatrics education faculty and students at education institutions.

The Endowment Fund invests in special programs and projects that further the mission of AGHE to advance gerontology and geriatrics education in academic institutions and to provide leadership and support of faculty and students at these institutions. Donations to the endowment are invested to generate interest for AGHE programs. Up to 75% of annual investment income each year is made available to partially fund projects that support AGHE's mission and vision; the remainder of annual income is used to build the endowment corpus.

The Tree of Knowledge supports AGHE's mission and vision through the development of new programs, products, awards, services and membership initiatives. These may include increasing participation  in the Annual Scientific Meeting by students and to support increased student involvement in AGHE through other initiatives such as membership outreach. We hope that you will consider a gift to AGHE in 2019. Visit the Support AGHE webpage for additional  information about these AGHE initiatives.
Community College Corner
Gerontology meets Neuroscience: The Power and Potential of this Once-in-a-Lifetime CONSILIENCE
Roger Anunsen
Gerontology Instructor
Portland Community College
Consilience:  con·sil·i·ence [kənˈsilēəns] noun: 
Agreement between the approaches to a topic of different academic subjects, especially science and the humanities.  Oxford Dictionary
In the past two decades, we've seen a once-in-a-lifetime "consilience" that has created a bridge between traditional gerontology and the new field of aging-related neuroscience.   A consilience, according to E.O. Wilson in his 1998 book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, is "literally a 'jumping together' of knowledge by the linking of facts and fact-based theory across disciplines to create a common groundwork of explanation."   

And, since 1998, the exciting consilience between gerontology and age-related neuroscience has moved beyond explanation to the collaborative exploration of the new frontier of Applied Brain Science as experts from each field synergistically inform one another.  Way back in the Dark Ages of Brain Science, the pre-1980s, research about older brains was simply not there.  Why waste time and money studying brains of people who have so few years left.  SURPRISE!  Along comes extended human longevity plus imaging technology, the Internet, the fear of Alzheimer's and, of course, the aging of the Boomers.  These became the primary scaffolding for the multi-lane bridge that carries today's two-way flow of knowledge between our disciplines.    
What if we added brain science to an established gerontology program?  This was on our minds at Portland Community College in 2011 and here was our thinking: Without current neuroscience knowledge about aging minds, our gerontology students might unknowingly perpetuate overturned myths or carry negative, internalized mindsets throughout their careers.  They would likely be unaware of the increasingly positive waves of evidence-based, non-pharmaceutical good news that are informing and reforming tomorrow's gerontology professionals.  So, we created The Aging Mind course that is now a required, gerontology-focused neuroscience course where students learn for at least three very good reasons:  For those they will serve during their career, for their loved ones, and, perhaps most importantly for the future health and optimal functioning of their own brains.  
The Aging Mind was the first college gerontology course that translated the burgeoning neuroscience research into plain English.  It included the blueprint offered by the late Dr. Gene Cohen the unforgettable pioneer of positive aging and the potential of establishing an "asset-based mindset."  This course is currently described for students as follows: Explores the convergence of gerontology and recent brain science. Presents novel and combinatorial interventions based on recent research on aging brains for today's older students and tomorrow's gerontologists and care providers, introducing them to the emerging array of sustainable approaches to engage, stimulate, and enhance older minds.

Continue reading...  
New Issue of Gerontology & Geriatrics Education
Elizabeth J. Bergman, Ph.D.   
Managing Editor, Journal of Gerontology and Geriatrics Education 
Associate Professor and Chair   
Ithaca College Gerontology Institute
Volume 40, Issue 1 of the Journal of Gerontology and Geriatrics Education is now available online.  
This issue contributes to the literature on the value of interprofessional education and team training in delivering optimal care to older adults.  
Dr. Janet Frank, Adjunct Associate Professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and author of the issue's foreword, reminds us that, "The subject of interdisciplinary teams is more relevant than ever, with the increased recognition of the impact of social determinants of health on health outcomes and the policy emphasis on value-based care for the whole person...It is critical to extend modalities of team training to gerontologists and others beyond the clinical geriatrics professions while continuing to build the evidence for the importance of team care within clinical care settings."  
Please share this important work with your colleagues and students!
AGHE Executive Committee
at the 2019 GSA Annual Scientific Meeting

To view a full-sized version of the POM advertisement above, please visit page 2 of Marilyn's Gugliucci's POM article from this issue of the AGHExchange.

To apply for Program of Merit: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Call AGHE at (202) 289-9806 or find Marilyn R. Gugliucci or Shannon Mathews [POM Co-Chairs] at the GSA Annual Scientific Meeting.

Application forms and additional information may be found at AGHE Program of Merit webpage at https://www.aghe.org/events/program-of-merit

In This Issue
Quick Links

News and Announcements
Nominate an AGHE Colleague for an Award!
We are actively seeking nominations for AGHE Awards.  
There are more than 10 AGHE awards, including the Clark Tibbitts Award and the Distinguished Faculty Award. Most awards have a March 31 deadline for submitting nominations.  
For a full list of AGHE awards, including criteria, deadline information and links to the nomination forms, click here.   
Greg O'Neill Student Policy Internship
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) has established the Greg O'Neill Student Policy Internship.  
This new professional development opportunity for emerging scholars in the aging field is named in memory of Greg O'Neill, a scholar himself, and a long-time GSA staff member.
Applications are due on February 15. To learn more please visit the GSA Website.

Postdoctoral Fellowship Call for Applications
The Robert L. Kane Postdoctoral Fellowship in Aging, Dementia, and
Long-Term Care

The Robert L. Kane Postdoctoral Fellowship in Aging, Dementia, and Long-Term Care will nurture scholars with strong  expertise/interests in long-term care, healthcare systems and delivery, prevention and management of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, intervention design/development, systems innovation, health equity, and/or quality of care/quality of life among older adults and their family/professional caregivers.

Fellows will have the opportunity to join and can seek mentorship from a diverse and vibrant group of research programs across the University of Minnesota and the state.

Two Robert L. Kane Postdoctoral Fellows will begin in Fall, 2019. Applications are considered until positions are filled.
Mark your Calendars for
Careers in Aging Week!
Careers in Aging Week is March 3 - 9, 2019. Get ready to raise awareness about careers in the field of aging!

Check out the website for resources and ways to help spread the word!
Support AGHE
AGHE needs your financial support! Find out how you can contribute here!
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Do you have colleagues, administrators, or students who should know about AGHE & issues related to gerontological & geriatric education? Simply email your request to aghe@aghe.org.