The University of Iowa is one of 44 organizations nationwide to receive funding from the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP). The GWEP is sponsored by the Health Resources and Human Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The overall purpose of the GWEP is to develop a health care workforce that maximizes patient and family engagement and to improve health outcomes for older adults by integrating geriatrics with primary care.

Our GWEP project, Interprofessional Strategic Healthcare Alliance for Rural Education (iSHARE), expands and strengthens regional presence to squarely address the critical need for dementia management and chronic disease care and develops a sustainable infrastructure for geriatric workforce training, focusing on rural underserved areas and amplifying patient and family engagement to meet the unmet workforce needs. iSHARE, coordinated by the Iowa Geriatric Education Center, implements the GWEP mission through four objectives: 1) Provide interprofessional clinical training to improve care in geriatrics and provide expert instruction; 2) Integrate geriatric education into primary care practice, community-based service delivery and family caregiving; 3) Create and deliver innovative distance training and interactive e-learning for individuals who will provide care to older adults; and 4) Provide Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) education and training for those who provide care for older adults with dementia.

iSHARE's special emphases on mental health, frailty, delirium, substance use, and dementia care are optimally suited for primary care practices where the evaluation and treatment of mental health conditions most often occurs in rural settings. In the spirit of the GWEP, we are working directly with primary care providers so learning can effectively take place at the point of care, and partnering with families and patients to work as a team in maximizing health outcomes. iSHARE builds on our rural partnerships to meet four focus areas: 1) Integrate geriatric training into primary care through collaboration with primary care clinics in Iowa and Kansas; 2) Develop providers who will meet the needs of older adults, their families and caregivers by having an impact at the personal level as well as the community and population level; 3) Implement community-based programs to directly reach patients and families; and 4) Extend our long history of teaching and training in dementia care and behavioral management for ADRD.

iSHARE is led by Principal Investigator Marianne Smith, PhD, RN, FAAN. Dr. Smith is an associate professor with the University of Iowa College of Nursing, where she is also the co-director of the Hartford/Csomay Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence.

To learn more about the GWEP, visit the HRSA website:

The Interprofessional Strategic Healthcare Alliance for Rural Education (iSHARE) is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number U1QHP28731, Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program, for $2,525,070.11. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by, HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.