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CSWE Gero-Ed Center Awards Gero Innovations Grants


For Immediate Release

Carrie Murdock deGuzman

Gero-Ed Center Master's Advanced Curriculum Project has awarded 2-year Gero Innovations Grants of up to $20,000 to 14 U.S. MSW programs.

July 31, 2007 – ALEXANDRIA, VA—The Council on Social Work Education’s Gero-Ed Center Master’s Advanced Curriculum Project (MAC Project) has awarded 2-year Gero Innovations Grants of up to $20,000 to 14 MSW programs across the country. Each program selected has an innovative plan to develop, implement, and evaluate sustainable strategies to increase the understanding that MSW students seeking to practice in mental health, substance use, and health have about working with older adults. 

“Ensuring that future social workers who practice in the areas of mental health, substance use, and health have an understanding of older adults is of great importance to CSWE,” said Julia M. Watkins, executive director of CSWE. “Through the MAC Project, we can begin to assure older adults and their families that social workers practicing in these areas will understand and be prepared to provide appropriate services to meet their unique needs.”

The 14 Gero Innovations Grant Award recipients were chosen based on their proposed methodology to develop and implement innovative strategies to increase the understanding that MSW students seeking to practice in mental health, substance use, and health have of the unique issues of older adults in those practice settings. The sustainable effect of each proposal was also central to the application review process. The extent to which adjunct faculty would be included in these methodologies was also considered, as they often play a key role in teaching specialty courses.

“Together, the programs will produce a wealth of effective teaching materials that focus on increasing gerontological competencies of MSW students who intend to practice in mental health, substance use, and health care settings” said Sadhna Diwan, project principal investigator of the MAC Project and associate professor at San Jose State University. “The programs selected are well equipped to take on the challenge of producing curricular materials that address the needs of an increasingly diverse older population in this country.”

The MSW programs chosen to receive the Innovations Grants for 2007 span from New York to California: Adelphi University; Arizona State University; Fordham University; Case Western Reserve University; Monmouth University; New York University; Saint Louis University; University at Albany; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Chicago; University of North Carolina at Greensboro; University of Oklahoma; University of Texas at Arlington; and University of Texas at Austin.

The number of older adults with serious psychiatric disorders is estimated to climb as high as 15 million by the year 2030. And, the number of older adults in need of substance use treatment will increase from 1.7 million in 2000 and 2001 to 4.4 million in 2020. In order for older Americans to actively participate in their communities, many depend on health services, including physical and mental health services, as well as services offered for substance use. Given the prevalence of social workers in these settings and the rapidly growing population of older adults, the successful realization of the MAC Project’s goals are more urgent.

The MAC Project focuses on increasing gerontological competencies in the MSW advanced specialty areas of health, mental health, and substance use. The MAC Project primarily fulfills its mission through creating resources that faculty can use to teach these three specialty areas and strives to examine the current state of knowledge to define a progressive agenda for social work education, practice, and research.

The MAC Project is a project of the Gero-Ed Center, which is led by Co-Principal Investigators Dr. Julia M. Watkins, executive director of CSWE, and Dr. Nancy Hooyman, the Hooyman Endowed Professor in Gerontology at the University of Washington, School of Social Work. The Center is funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation. Founded in 1929, the John A. Hartford Foundation is a committed champion of training, research, and service system innovations that promote the health and independence of America’s older adults. Through its grant making, the Foundation seeks to strengthen the nation’s capacity to provide effective, affordable care to this rapidly increasing older population by educating “aging-prepared” health professionals (physicians, nurses, social workers) and developing innovations that improve and better integrate health and supportive services. Mr. John A. Hartford and his brother, George L. Hartford, both former chief executives of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, left the bulk of their estates to the Foundation upon their deaths in the 1950s. Additional information about the Foundation and its programs is available at


 Visit the MAC Project for more information about the Gero Innovations Grants.