GWEP Addresses Needs in Local Community

Duke University School of Nursing

With the number of geriatric specialized providers decreasing and the population of older adults increasing, it is becoming ever more important to educate primary care providers in geriatric care. According to the American Geriatric Society, 20,000 geriatricians are currently needed to care for over 14 million older adults, but as of 2016 there were only 7,293 certified geriatricians nationwide. As with physicians, many of the nation’s nurses lack expertise in elder care. Additionally, fewer than one percent of registered nurses (RNs) and fewer than three percent of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are certified in geriatrics, according to the American Geriatric Society.

Duke is finding ways to fill this gap. The Duke Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) is focused on strengthening the capacity of providers to provide patient-centered coordinated health care to the geriatric community. The Duke GWEP is one of 44 GWEPs funded through HRSA and brings together training programs, primary care practices, community agencies and health care organizations to implement a new model of workforce development that improves outcomes for older adults.

Through the GWEP initiative, the Geriatrics Hub and Gero Practice Compendium have been created to enhance the care of older adults through online resources readily available at one’s fingertips.  These websites provide information on educational events, clinical tools and community resources that can help health professionals better meet the needs of their older patients.

The Geriatrics Hub is a place all health care providers, patients and caregivers can go to find a variety gero-focused events, resources, teaching tools and webinars. The site features upcoming local and national geriatric events, including webinars where clinicians can earn continuing education credits. Through this site, users are also able to browse resources including the Duke Family Support Program, Duke Geriatric Evaluation and Treatment Clinic, Duke Driving Program Driver Evaluations, Durham Network of Care and more. 

The Gero Practice Compendium provides practitioners who are less familiar with the geriatric population easy access to clinical support tools such as gero-focused standardized assessment instruments. Equally important, the compendium is a source of community-based resources to support patients and their families.  The compendium connects providers, patients, and families to the Durham Network of Care - a site that serves as a resource directory to help locate services and supports in the Durham community.

GWEP is co-directed by Eleanor McConnell, PhD, RN, associate professor at Duke University School of Nursing and Mitchell Heflin, MD, MHS, associate professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine. Midge Bowers, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, CHFN, CHSE, A.A.C.C., FAANP, associate professor at Duke University School of Nursing oversees the GWEP fellowship program.

To learn more about GWEP, contact Loretta Matters, or Cindy Luddy cindy.luddy@duke.eduv or visit their webpage:



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