The University of Iowa is one of 48 organizations nationwide to receive funding from the Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP). The GWEP is sponsored by the Health Resources and 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 project, the Iowa Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (Iowa-GWEP), strengthens our regional presence to advance geriatric best practices. The Iowa-GWEP, coordinated by the Iowa Geriatric Education Center, implements the GWEP mission through five objectives: 1) Build partnerships to educate and train a workforce: academia, primary care sites/systems, and community-based organizations; 2) Train current and future providers to assess and address the primary care needs of older adults; 3) Transform clinical training environments to become Age-Friendly Health Systems; 4) Deliver community-based programs that provide patients, families, caregivers, and direct care workers with the knowledge and skills to improve health outcomes for older adults; and 5) Provide Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD) education and training for those who provide care for older adults with dementia.

The Iowa-GWEP focuses on the 4Ms of Age-Friendly Health Systems – What Matters, Mentation, Mobility, and Medication – as well as on the practices of Dementia Friendly Communities. Patient outcomes that we intend to improve include dementia caregiver education and support; risk of opioid misuse; advance care plans; high-risk medication use; 30-day readmissions; and fall risk measures. In the spirit of the GWEP, we are working directly with community-based primary care sites so learning can effectively take place at the point of care, and partnering with families and patients to maximize their engagement and improve health outcomes.

The Iowa-GWEP 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 director of the Csomay Center for Gerontological Excellence.

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

The Iowa-GWEP 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.