Public Release: 

Twelve scholars to receive support to strengthen the field of geriatric social work

The Gerontological Society of America

Twelve scholars have been selected as Hartford Faculty Scholars and will receive $100,000 over the next two years to improve the well being of older adults by strengthening geriatric social work. During the two years of funding, the Faculty Scholars will conduct a research project focused on evaluating and improving the field of geriatric social work.

This year's scholars will administer projects across a wide range of topics, from assessing the psychosocial needs of terminally ill elders to exploring the use of video-phones as a geriatric telemedicine intervention. Race and minority issues are also a prominent theme in the scholars' projects. They will explore such topics as empowering African American elders with Diabetes and examine race disparities in health among older adults.

In addition to completing their research project, the twelve scholars will participate in institutes and workshops to further enhance their teaching, research and leadership skills. Each Scholar will be paired with a National Research Mentor and a school-based sponsor who will support the Scholar's professional leadership and research career development.

The Hartford Faculty Scholar's Program is administered by The Gerontological Society of America and directed by Dr. Barbara Berkman, Helen Rehr/Ruth Fizdale Professor, Columbia University School of Social Work.

The twelve individuals selected for the prestigious Hartford Faculty Scholars Program in Geriatric Social Work are as follows:

Geri Adler, PhD
University of South Carolina
Institutional Sponsor: Terry Tirrito, PhD
National Research Mentor: Amy Horowitz, Lighthouse International
Research topic: An Integrated Study of Driving Cessation in Older Adults with Dementia

Mercedes Bern-Klug, PhD
University of Iowa
Institutional Sponsor: Lorraine Dorfman, PhD
National Research Mentor: Rosalie Kane, University of Minnesota
Research topic: National Survey of Nursing Home Social Workers

Kathy Black, PhD
University of South Florida Sarasota/Manatee
Institutional Sponsor: Gregory Paveza, PhD
National Research Mentor: Betty Kramer, University of Wisconsin
Research topic: Examining Case Managers' Advance Directive Communication Practices with Older Clients

Holly Dabelko, PhD
Ohio State University
Institutional Sponsor: Virginia Richardson, PhD
National Research Mentor: Rhonda Montgomery, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Research topic: The Association Between Services and Outcomes in Adult Day Health Care Programs

Vaughn DeCoster, PhD
University of Arkansas
Institutional Sponsor: Joe Schriver, PhD
National Research Mentor: Ruth Dunkle, University of Michigan
Research topic: Empowering African American Elders with Diabetes: An Application and Test of the Illness Intrusiveness Model

Karen Fredriksen-Goldsen, PhD
University of Washington
Institutional Sponsor: Nancy Hooyman, PhD
National Research Mentor: Berit Ingersoll-Dayton, University of Michigan
Research topic: Caregiving and Resiliency: The Role of Informal and Formal Supports

James Hinterlong, PhD
Florida State University
Institutional Sponsor: Linda Vinton, PhD
National Research Mentor: Stephanie Robert, University of Minnesota
Research topic: Race Disparities in Health Among Older Adults: Examining the Role of Productive Engagement

Terry Koenig, PhD
State University of New York at Buffalo
Institutional Sponsor: Nancy Smyth, PhD
National Research Mentor: Bob Mollica, National Academy for State Health Insurance
Research topic: Transitions from Community to Assisted Living: Decision-making, Transitions and the Role of Social Workers

Eun-Kyoung "Othelia" Lee, PhD
Boston College
Institutional Sponsor: Kevin Mahoney, PhD
National Research Mentor: Aloen Townsend, Case Western Reserve University
Research topic: Does Spirituality Matter? Examining Race and Disability Status

Debra Parker-Oliver, PhD
University of Missouri
Institutional Sponsor: Colleen Galambos, DSW
National Research Mentor: Ron Toseland, SUNY at Albany
Research topic: Video-phones as a Geriatric Telemedicine Intervention for Social Work Practitioners

Daniel Rosen, PhD
University of Pittsburgh
Institutional Sponsor: Rafael Engel, PhD
National Research Mentor: David Biegel, Case Western Reserve University
Research topic: Using the Chronic Care Model to Develop Treatment Approaches for Depression Among Older Adult Clients at a Methadone Clinic

Tracy Schroepfer, PhD
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Institutional Sponsor: Betty Kramer, PhD
National Research Mentor: Nancy Morrow-Howell, Washington University
Research topic: Assessing the Psychosocial Needs of Terminally Ill Elder

The Scholars were selected by a National Program Committee of well-respected leaders in the field of social work: Dr. Amanda Barusch, University of Utah; Dr. David Biegel, Case Western Reserve University; Dr. Nancy Hooyman, University of Washington, Seattle; Dr. Amy Horowitz, The Lighthouse, International; Dr. Rosalie Kane, University of Minnesota; Dr. James Lubben, University of California, Los Angeles; Dr. Deborah Padgett, New York University; and Dr. Marsha Mallick Seltzer, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

It is estimated that there are over 600,000 practicing social workers in the United States. While most social workers report that geriatric knowledge is needed in their professional work, less than 5% of all masters level students in social work, and approximately 7% of doctoral level students specialize in aging. The Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholars Program is a $5.4 million dollar project to ensure that the country will have the necessary pool of trained and skilled geriatric social workers by creating faculty leaders specialized in geriatric research and teaching.

The Faculty Scholars Program is a major step toward increasing the visibility and desirability of geriatric social work so as to increase faculty commitment to training social workers to meet the growing and specialized needs of an aging population.


The John A. Hartford Foundation, Inc. of New York City is a private philanthropy established in 1929 by John A. Hartford, who was a chief executive of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company. Nearly all of the Foundation's grants are directed to its Aging and Health Program, which addresses two major areas: Academic Geriatrics and Training; and Integrating and Improving Services for Elders.

The Gerontological Society of America administers the Hartford Faculty Scholars Program. The Society is a national organization of professionals in the field of aging and is dedicated to the promotion of scientific study. It is designed to encourage exchanges among researchers and practitioners and to foster the use of gerontological research in forming public policy.

For ongoing information about the Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholars Program and information and links to the other Hartford Foundation programs under this initiative, see the GSA web page at (click on social work).

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