Public Release: 

Hartford/VA Geriatric Social Work Scholars Program selects new cohort

The Gerontological Society of America

The prestigious Hartford/VA Scholars Program has selected three geriatric social work researchers for a two-year award that provides career development and mentorship for projects that will improve health outcomes not only for older veterans, but for all older adults.

The 2014 Hartford/VA Scholars are examining such topics as physical activity among veterans, transitions from VA nursing facilities back into the community, and post-traumatic stress disorder in older veterans. The Hartford/VA Geriatric Scholars Program provides individualized mentorship from top-tier researchers from the Hartford Centers on Geriatric Social Work Excellence who offer comprehensive feedback and guidance, and covers travel expenses and registration fees for The Gerontological Society of America's Annual Scientific Meeting and professional development institutes.

The program is funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation and administered by The Gerontological Society of America as a component of the Hartford National Center on Gerontological Social Work Excellence, which seeks to expand the translation of research within the field of geriatric social work to community-based practices in order to better the health and well-being of older people and their families.

Listed below are the new scholars and their primary research topics:

Nikola R. Alenkin, PhD, LCSW, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System

Aging Veterans in the Domiciliary: Their Perceptions and Realities of Military Experience and Impacts on Treatment Outcomes

Gina M. McCaskill, PhD, MSW, MPA, Birmingham VA Medical Center

A Qualitiative Study on Physical Activity Among Older Veterans of MOVE!®

Kelsey Simons, PhD, LMSW, Canandaigua VA Medical Center

Veterans in Transition: Returning to the Community After a Nursing Home Stay


The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) is the nation's oldest and largest interdisciplinary organization devoted to research, education, and practice in the field of aging. The principal mission of the Society -- and its 5,500+ members -- is to advance the study of aging and disseminate information among scientists, decision makers, and the general public. GSA's structure also includes a policy institute, the National Academy on an Aging Society, and an educational branch, the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education.

The John A. Hartford Foundation is a private philanthropy working to improve the health of older Americans. After three decades of championing research and education in geriatric medicine, nursing, and social work, today the Foundation pursues opportunities to put geriatrics expertise to work in all health care settings by advancing practice change and innovation, supporting team-based care through interdisciplinary education of all health care providers, supporting policies and regulations that promote better care, and developing and disseminating new evidence-based models that deliver better, more cost-effective health care. The Foundation was established by John A. Hartford in 1929. Mr. Hartford and his brother, George L. Hartford, both former chief executives of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (the A&P grocery chain), 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

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