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UCI Health receives grant to help improve healthcare for older adults

Community engagement will drive innovations in care quality and delivery

August 20, 2015

UCI Health Division of Geriatric Medicine & Gerontology has received a three-year $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to improve geriatric care in Orange County by strengthening medical training and healthcare delivery for the rapidly growing and increasingly diverse senior population. UC Irvine Medical Center is ranked 43rd among the nation's top hospitals for senior care by U.S. News & World Report.

The grant is funded through the agency’s Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program, which awarded more than $35 million to 44 organizations in 29 states for developing local programs that support quality of care for older adults, based on the specific geriatrics education and training needs of their communities.

The UCI Health project is called “Cultivating a Culture of Caring for Older Adults: C3OA” and will be a collaboration with the UC Irvine Program in Nursing Science and community partners. Leading the effort is Dr. Lisa Gibbs, chief, UCI Health Division of Geriatrics Medicine & Gerontology, and medical director, UCI Health SeniorHealth Center.

“As the only academic medical center in Orange County, we have a mission to help prepare our community to address the needs of a burgeoning senior population,” Gibbs said. “We will work closely with our two Federal Qualified Health Centers in Santa Ana and Anaheim, Alta Med, the Vietnamese Community of Orange County, the Orange County Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, the Orange County Social Services Agency and community-based organizations.”

The grant supports development of a comprehensive plan that will increase the number of healthcare professionals in Orange County trained to meet the needs of older adults, by residents-in-training, and practicing healthcare professionals, as well as patients, families and caregivers, Gibbs said.  The aim is to develop a more responsive, agile workforce and drive innovations in care coordination through engagement with collaborators, community resources and provider organizations.

“By exporting best practices which integrate geriatric skills, knowledge and health delivery processes from UC Irvine’s SeniorHealth Center into major primary care sites that serve older adults, , we will improve the quality, coordination and delivery of care, resulting in better health outcomes for our senior population,” Gibbs said. This effort is supported by UC Irvine’s strong clinical and teaching programs in geriatric medicine and nursing, she said.

UCI Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 411-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among America’s Best Hospitals for 15 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and is the primary teaching hospital for UC Irvine School of Medicine. UCI Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the University of California, Irvine: Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.