Work through geriatric center focuses on health in elders in American Indian communities

Michigan State University Extension is partnering to improve health in tribal nations.

Some of our MSU Extension colleagues work through the Geriatric Education Center of Michigan (GECM), a federally funded, statewide consortium of universities, hospitals and government agencies. The center, administratively located at MSU, trains health professionals and others to deliver better care to older adults.

Through the center, the Northern Michigan Team focuses on elders in the American Indian community. The team includes Extension health and nutrition educator Emily Proctor, a member of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians and a tribal liaison for MSU Extension; Linda Cronk, Extension health and nutrition educator; Beth Eisch, registered nurse in the Area Agency on Aging of Northwest Michigan; Dr. Lynn Swan, physician in the Munson Family Practice Center and MSU assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine; and Dr. Cheryl Peters, Extension evaluation specialist.

The team partners with tribal nations and community organizations to offer tribal government employees an opportunity to obtain continuing education credits through various elder care modules. The modules train individuals on topics that include caring for the caregiver, substance abuse and mental health issues in older adults, health literacy for older adults, oral health and more. Not intended as typical lecture instruction, the multidisciplinary modules involve sharing experiences and learning from each other.

Linda said, “Through the work with the GECM, it has been an honor to work with tribal nation professionals who focus on elder issues. It has been very refreshing to observe the levels of commitment and respect that people show to their elders in the tribal communities with which we have worked.”

Read this MSU Today article, to find out more about the work of the center: http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2013/where-cultural-traditions-meet-cutting-edge-care/

For more information on the GECM, visit http://gecm.msu.edu/.

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