LeadingAge Advocating for Federal Programs Dedicated to Geriatric Workforce Training

Workforce | February 27, 2020 | by Andrea Price-Carter

The national Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP), the only federal program that develops a health care workforce, while improving health outcomes for older adults, has not been reauthorized by Congress. As our nation ages and our workforce shortage worsens, the GWEPs serve a valuable role.

The program:

  • Supports 44 three-year grants located in 29 states.
  • Integrates geriatrics and primary care delivery sites/systems.
  • Provided training for about 39,500 students and fellows in academic year 2018-2019 for degree programs, field placements, and fellowships.
  • Involves patients and families in health care decisions, and provides training focusing on interprofessional/team-based care for students, faculty, providers, direct service workers, patients, families, and family caregivers.

The Geriatrics Academic Career Awards (GACAs) program supports the career development of junior faculty in geriatrics at accredited schools of allopathic medicine, osteopathic medicine, nursing, social work, psychology, dentistry, pharmacy, or allied health. This program needs to be reestablished.

Current funding for GWEPs is nearly $41 million, and while the program wasn’t included in the President’s FY 2021 budget, LeadingAge continues to advocate for bills that would reauthorize the law. LeadingAge is also working to support a $51 million funding level to close current geographic and demographic gaps in geriatrics workforce training. The increased funding could support 8 additional GWEP sites and the reestablishment of the GACAs.