UNTHSC Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program

Workforce Enhancement in Healthy Aging and Independent Living

Health Science Center at Fort Worth
Health Science Center at Fort Worth

Program Summary

The University of North Texas Health Science Center, Center for Older Adults was awarded a five-year, $3.75M grant in July 2019 from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to build upon the success of its Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) called Workforce Enhancement in Healthy Aging and Independent Living (WE HAIL).

Purpose and Goals

WE HAIL was established in 2015 to improve health outcomes for older adults.

We accomplish this by developing education and training programs focused on

    • improving health outcomes for older adults,
    • Incorporating geriatrics with primary care,
    • integrating geriatric and primary care systems, and
    • transforming clinical training environments

Collaborating Partners

WE HAIL works with health professional schools and training programs, community partners, and healthcare organizations to equip the primary care workforce with the knowledge and skills to care for older adults.

Alzheimer’s Association North Central Texas Chapter
Area Agency on Aging of the Panhandle
Baylor Scott & White Center of Applied Research
Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine
HSC Correctional Medicine Dept.
HSC Graduate Certificate in Academic Medicine
HSC Health
HSC Rural Osteopathic Medical Education
HSC SaferCare Texas
James L. West Center for Dementia Care
JPS Health Network
LeadingAge Texas
MedStar Mobile Healthcare
State Ombudsman Offices of Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico
Texas Christian University Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Texas Health Care Association
Texas Health Resources
Texas Hospital Association
Texas Osteopathic Medical Association
TMF Health Quality Institute
United Way of Tarrant County’s Area Agency on Aging
University of Incarnate Word, School of Osteopathic Medicine
University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth


WE HAIL develops education and training for individuals and organizations providing care for older adults, including:

Health professions students

  • Seniors Assisting Geriatric Education (SAGE) exposes health care students from multiple disciplines to older adults in order to promote a better understanding of geriatric care through first hand experience.
  • HSC Rural Osteopathic Medical Education (ROME) expands geriatrics training for students through engagement in a quality improvement project, based on the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Age-Friendly Health Systems 4Ms framework, at a rural primary care setting.
  • HSC provides geriatrics training and certification as Geriatric Resource Nurses to nursing students at Texas Christian University Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Health professions faculty

Graduate Certificate in Academic Medicine (GCAM) Faculty from other institutions complete the HSC Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) training in order to develop interprofessional (IP) geriatrics curricula at their respective institutions.

Primary care residents

Geriatrics ECHO for Resident Education Faculty in the Center for Older Adults lead monthly sessions for residents at area hospitals, using the ECHO model.

HSC partners with John Peter Smith (JPS) Health Network’s family medicine residency program to provide geriatric training to family residents.

Practicing health care professionals

Continuing Education Modules provide online training for practicing healthcare professionals such as physicians, physician assistants, physical therapists, nurse practitioners, ambulatory clinic nurses, pharmacists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, and public health professionals.

HSC partners with JPS Health Network to integrate age-friendly clinical decision support tools into its network of community primary care clinics for use during annual wellness visits.

Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (Project ECHO) develops learning communities for primary care providers and long-term care facilities focused on improving care for older adults and their caregivers in rural areas.

Nursing home workforce

HSC develops partnerships with nursing homes to provide coaching on value-based care, including depression and advance care planning, and to increase access to community resources.

Providers with HSC Center for Older Adults present a series of in-person training sessions for certified nurse assistants (CNAs) who care for older adults in nursing homes.

Infection Control Advocate and Resident Education (ICARE) provides training curricula for residents, family caregivers, advocates, and facility staff to promote best practice strategies for infection control.

Learning Module for  Licensed Nursing Facility Administrators addresses workforce recruitment, training and retention.

Learning Modules for Certified Nurse Assistants.  Center for Older Adults produced a series of ten-minute video lessons to address some of the most important challenges facing CNAs and other direct care staff.

Nursing Home STRONG ECHO offers virtual education and peer support to nursing home leadership across five states, and covers topics of interest to today’s nursing hHSC omes.

Interdisciplinary health care teams

Geriatric Practice Leadership Institute (GPLI) provides teams of health care providers with skills and knowledge to improve patient care for older adults by incorporating the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Age-Friendly Health Systems 4Ms Framework

Health professionals working in correctional facilities

HSC provides geriatric practice guidelines and training for health professionals working in federal correctional facilities in partnership with HSC’s Correctional Medicine Department.

Emergency responders

HSC provides MedStar Mobile Healthcare falls prevention training for emergency responders.

Older adults and family caregivers

WE HAIL partners with community organizations to deliver evidence-based programs to older adults, families, and caregivers to increase knowledge and skills related to improving their health.

HSC expands access to evidence-based programs, promotes healthy behaviors and improves health outcomes for older adults and their caregivers.

HSC increases access to early screenings, assessments, and diagnostic and referral services for older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders and their caregivers.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U1QHP287350100. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Health Resources and Services Administration or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.