UND’s Dakota Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program receives $1 million federal grant – Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced a $1 million grant to UND for its Dakota Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program. The program seeks to deliver higher quality care of older adults and improve dementia care.

The program, based in UND’s School of Medicine, will receive $1 million every year through 2029, a total of $5 million over five years, according to Donald Jurivich, chair of geriatrics for the UND School of Medicine.

“The crux of the grant is to strengthen older adult health care through training of the health care workforce and community, especially in tribal, rural and underserved areas of North and South Dakota,” Jurivich said in an email.

North and South Dakota have four of the 25 oldest populations in the U.S., Jurivich noted, and both states have among the highest rates of Alzheimer’s in the nation.

The grant will also help bridge statewide gaps in geriatric care, according to a Feb. 20 letter of recommendation to HHS signed by North Dakota’s congressional delegation.

“As our state continues to face industry-wide health care staffing shortages and challengse, medical specialties such as geriatrics are no exception,” the letter reads. “The partnerships formed by Dakota Geriatrics between institutions of higher education, health care providers and community-based organizations are fundamental in addressing workforce shortfalls and training gaps.

“Dakota Geriatrics is well positioned to enhance health workforce capacity and expertise while delivering better health outcomes for age and dementia related interactions,” the letter continues. “This is an important program function and service as the state expects a growing number of individuals living in rural and tribal areas who will require care for dementia and other age-related health conditions.”

To date, the Dakota Geriatrics program has had more than 14,000 engagements with health care workers to enhance their knowledge in evidence-based geriatrics, according to Jurivich.

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