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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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Extension partners with Geriatric Education Center of Michigan for spring conference

On April 27 and 28, Michigan State University Extension, in partnership with the Geriatric Education Center of Michigan (GECM), held a conference in Grand Rapids for health care professionals titled “An Interdisciplinary Approach to Assessment and Care of Older Adults.” The conference is part of a five-year grant from GECM that enables the MSUE-GECM team to provide yearly education to multidisciplinary groups of health care professionals on the specific topics covered in the conference.

 The 118 health care professionals participating were able to attend presentations and take part in discussions around assessment of the cognitive, physical and social capabilities of older adults, including their nutritional status, in order to identify appropriate resources that support an optimal quality of life for each person.

 Physicians, physician assistants, social workers, dentists, dental hygienists and nurses received CMEs and CEUs (continuing education credits) for attending the conference.

 Pat Joyce, Extension health and nutrition educator and a member of the Grand Rapids GECM team for the past four years, was the host for the second day of the conference. Monica Smith, Extension health and nutrition educator, was a presenter and spoke on nutrition and aging. Jeffrey Dwyer, Ph.D., associate dean for research and community engagement in MSU’s College of Human Medicine and principal investigator for this grant, welcomed the attendees.

 Additional topics covered included:

  • Continuous Quality Improvement by Deedre Vriesman, M.A., and Suzann Ogland-Hand, Ph.D., MSU adjunct assistant professor
  • Dementia: Cognitive Screening by Lou Nykamp, M.D., MSU clinical assistant professor
  • Dementia: Implement Best Practices by Suzann Ogland-Hand
  • Depression and Suicide in Later Life by Jackie Hiskes, registered nurse, and Suzann Ogland-Hand
  • Falls in the Older Adult by Chris Boer, physical therapist;
  • Functional Assessment I and II by Gwen Brandt, M.D., and Iris Boettcher, M.D., MSU clinical associate professor
  • Oral Health for the Elderly by Domenica (Nikki) Sweier, D.D.S., Ph.D.

 Find additional information about this conference at http://www.pinerest.org/event-gecm.

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