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by Robin McAtee, PhD, RN, FACHE, Director, Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative at UAMS

Hello from the Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC), the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program for Arkansas. As we enter into the winter of 2018, there is snow on the ground and temps are single digits, but the sun is shining!  It is exciting to start a new year as we enter the last six months of this grant.  We are anxiously awaiting the release of a request for proposal from HRSA so we can apply for another grant, but delays are inevitable it seems as the US government struggles to approve a fiscal year budget!

Fall was a busy time as we continued our programming in education with our partners. We had two video-teleconferences/webinars with over 150 attendees at each program.  Being able to broadcast our programs on-line/webinar is really helping us to reach more individuals, especially those in rural areas and those who can’t leave work to attend in person.  Our academic partners, ASU and UCA, were also busy reaching thousands of students with geriatric content during the fall semester!  We continue to seek new ways to reach and teach these audiences and if you have any suggestions, please let us know.

During November, National Family Caregiver Month, we partnered with the UAMS Schmieding Home Caregiving Training Program to host a panel discussion regarding family caregiving.  Donna Terrell (a former caregiver for her daughter) from FOX 16 was the moderator, Les Warren (a legislator from Hot Springs), Beth Coulson (a former judge who serves on the board of several community organizations), and Dr. Sybil Hampton (a former educator and former President of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation) who all had extensive experience caring for elderly parents, served as panelists. It was a well-attended and engaging event that culminated in presenting awards to 6 deserving family caregivers from all across the state!

As spring approaches, our community programs will blossom! Tai Chi, diabetic empowerment education programs, healthy cooking, dementia experiences, and many others are all planned and scheduled. We also have exciting events scheduled for professionals and direct care workers such as certified dementia training and new webinars! Please keep close tabs on our website for upcoming events!   See you in the spring!!!