by Ronni Chernoff, PhD, AGEC Director and Professor, Department of Geriatrics

We are getting started on year 2 of the Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC), a Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program. We just completed a progress report for the year that ended June 30, 2016. During 2015-2016, the partners in the AGEC offered 37 academic courses, our 5-day summer institute for faculty, 60 hours for the Arkansas Geriatric Education Mentors and Scholars (ARGEMS) program, 2 Geriatric Grand Rounds, an APRN geriatric pharmacology course, co-sponsored a 5-day geriatric long term care conference, and co-sponsored several diabetes, healthy aging, and falls prevention workshops. In collaboration with the Centers on Aging, AARP, AHECs, and our academic partners, Arkansas State University and the University of Central Arkansas, we supported 30 other educational offerings, including 4 video teleconferences (VTC) that were broadcast via the interactive television network and live-streamed via Blackboard. The VTCs were digitally recorded, edited and burned as DVDs which are available for viewing. We also started working with our first responders (firefighters, police, and EMS) to teach them how to effectively manage elderly individuals who have dementia. We had almost 1800 encounters in education with Arkansans seeking to learn more about aging. We are so proud of what we achieved in year 1 of this project!

We will continue to offer video teleconferences four times/year, twice in the Fall and twice in the Spring. Upcoming video teleconferences are scheduled for September 14 and October 26. Programs can be seen at UAMS or a site near where you live or work or by the interactive television network, but programs are now available through Blackboard Collaborative, a web-streaming option; this means you can stay at your computer and receive the program in real time and ask questions through the chat option. We are delighted to offer you the opportunity of accessing AGEC programming more conveniently.

The new www.agec.org website was launched and now offers easier navigation and more features. Please visit the website and read all about our new features. There are two portals, one for health professionals and one for community members who are not health professionals. We are working on a curriculum for direct care workers that will be available for continuing education credit.

As we plan ahead, we would love to hear from you about what you would like to know more about. We will be conducting a statewide needs assessment in the Spring, 2017 and hope you will take the time to do it on line or use a mailed survey to give us some feedback. In the meantime, feel free to e-mail your suggestions for topics and programs to agec@uams.edu or post a note on our website page. Look for “Save the Date” cards and announcements for the geriatrics and long term care 17th annual conference September 22-24. A Geriatric Grand Rounds on communication issues in dementia patients is scheduled for November 2 and we will be web-streaming, video teleconferencing, and having face to face video teleconferences in the Fall. Hope you are having a great summer and we look forward to seeing you soon!!