Existing geriatrics initiatives in Arkansas serve as a platform on which to build new projects and expand and improve the educational opportunities for practicing health professionals, faculty, and students who will be the next generation of providers.
Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC), Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS)
The GRECC has been a leader in geriatric education in Arkansas since its founding in 1977 and has earned a national reputation for sponsoring quality continuing education (CE) programs on geriatrics/gerontology topics, with a particular focus on nutrition and aging. The GRECC sponsors 3 major conferences annually, including Geriatric Medicine Update (February), Best Practices in the Continuum of Care (April), and Nutrition & Aging (September).
The GRECC has supported traineeships in nursing, occupational therapy, and pharmacy since 1984. In 1998, a unique traineeship in geriatric nutrition for registration eligible dietitians was awarded to the Little Rock GRECC. The GRECC has also provided team training workshops for health practitioners at all 10 Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 16 facilities, including Arkansas (2), Louisiana (3), Oklahoma (2), Mississippi (2), and Houston.
The Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System has a sophisticated continuum of health care for elderly veterans including acute care, a geriatric consult service, rehab care, transitional care, outpatient clinics, long term care, contract nursing homes, hospital based home care, medical foster homes, and palliative care. The CAVHS funds 4 geriatric fellowship positions and provides rotations for medical residents on the geriatric wards.
UAMS, a campus of the University of Arkansas (UA), includes the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions, and Public Health, as well as the Graduate School. UAMS is the only institution in the UA system that provides professional and graduate education in the health and biomedical sciences, has the only medical school in Arkansas, and maintains strong ties with the GRECC and the CAVHS.
In 1996, UAMS received a major grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to establish an Institute on Aging that would include a clinical Department of Geriatrics.
The Reynolds Institute on Aging (RIOA) sponsors an outpatient clinic, an acute care consult service, several nursing home medical directorships, a house calls program, and the 7 rural centers on aging.
The Arkansas State University (ASU) campus occupies 800 acres in Jonesboro, located in the northeast corner of Arkansas. ASU was one of the four original state agricultural schools established in 1909. It has 5 branch campuses located in Beebe, Mountain Home, Heber Spring, Paragould and Newport. Additionally, ASU offers a variety of courses and degree programs on a number of community college campuses throughout Arkansas. It is classified as a regional comprehensive university and offers associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degree programs.
ASU is a key partner in the development of the Northeast Arkansas Center on Aging (Arkansas Aging Initiative) and the 400 contracted clinical affiliation sites that positively impact the operational capacity of the College’s programs. The collaboration between ASU and UAMS through the AGEC has been successful since its inception in 2002.
Established in 1907, the University of Central Arkansas (UCA), located in Conway, has experienced significant growth and change in the past three years with a surge in enrollments crossing a threshold of 12,300 students, including 1800 graduate students.
UCA seeks to deliver excellence in undergraduate education in Arkansas as well as in several graduate programs. The University offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs in liberal and fine arts, in the basic sciences, and in technical and professional fields in addition to its historical emphasis in the field of education.
UCA will be a new partner in the Arkansas GEC consortium. The College of Health & Behavioral Sciences will be the specific collaborator and is the home of Nursing, Dietetics, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology, and Psychology programs.
Arkansas Cancer Coalition
The Arkansas Cancer Coalition (ARCC) is Arkansas’s statewide comprehensive cancer control partnership comprised of over 600 individuals representing 250 organizations. Is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, through a grant to the Arkansas Department of Health, a grant from Master Tobacco Settlement funds and the Center for Health Advancement through the Arkansas Department of Health. It is a nationally recognized coalition which, in November 2008, was awarded the prestigious “Exemplary Comprehensive Cancer Control Implementation Award” from C-Change, a national organization comprised of the nation’s key cancer leaders from government, business and nonprofit sectors. The ARCC unites the state’s doctors, hospitals, governmental agencies, public health services, community health groups and survivors around a common goal: to reduce the number of cancer-related deaths in Arkansas.
The ARCC brings to the AGEC consortium a comprehensive plan that promotes the use of evidence-based strategies to promote cancer prevention and control. The plan addresses decreasing tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke, promotes cancer prevention and healthy lifestyles through nutrition and physical activity, encourages protective behaviors from the sun and UV exposure, and screening, detecting and treating breast, cervical, ovarian, colorectal and prostate cancers based on accepted recommendations and guidelines. Part of the ARCC plan addresses increased awareness about measures to reduce the risk of cancer through prevention, early detection and treatment among health professionals.
Through the Arkansas Cancer Plan, the Coalition addresses prevention, screening and early detection; treatment disparities; clinical trials; workforce development; survivorship, professional education, surveillance and evaluation. The Arkansas Cancer Coalition’s staff develops an annual plan to implement and evaluate coalition priorities. Current activities include public and professional education, assessment of health disparities among those who are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, tobacco control and prevention, and development of an evaluation plan.
The Arkansas Chronic Illness Collaborative (ACIC) goal is to partner with health care professionals in order to find ways to improve the management of chronic disease. The Collaborative provides a forum for clinic health care teams in the delivery of care to their patients using the National Health Disparities Collaborative Planned Care Model for people with diabetes mellitus (DM) and/or cardiovascular disease (CVD) and certain forms of cancer. Clinic teams obtain this goal by sharing ideas and knowledge, learning and applying new methodologies for organizational change and implementing the Planned Care Model in an effort to align medical practices with evidence-based clinical guidelines. The ACIC strives to meet its goals within a 13-month time frame which includes three, two-day Learning Sessions and a one-day Congress.