While it was billed as a kick off reception for The Genesis Healthcare Center for Aging Research and Education (Genesis CARES) at USciences’ Samson College of Health Sciences, the event on Dec. 8 was really a celebration of the partnership that has been underway in full force since January 2011.
With support from Genesis Healthcare, Genesis CARES focuses on student recruitment, education, and research. At USciences, the departments of occupational therapy and physical therapy along with the physicians assistant and exercise science and wellness management programs work together on joint programming. Students are exposed to community programs that make an immediate impact in the community, attend learning seminars presented by Genesis staff, and have access to research and data.
“We are really creating a one-of-a-kind institute focused on research and education for the needs of the geriatric population,” said George V. Hager, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Genesis HealthCare as well as a USciences board of trustee member.“It’s a population that is very much ignored in our society, very much overlooked in both in the healthcare area and the education area.”
In the last year, Genesis CARES sponsored nine educational seminars that were geared toward students and presented by Genesis practitioners. The lectures covered topics from professionalism and ethics to specific subjects like the difference between dementia, delirium, and depression. They reached over 165 different students and laid the ground work for developing lifelong learning.
“We wanted to get the idea across to students that geriatric care and working with older adults is not your grandmother’s nursing home,” said Dr. Paula Kramer, chair of USciences’ Occupational Therapy Department and center director.
“This center allows us to educate our students as members of an interprofessional healthcare team who are delivering care to the elderly,” said Dr. Laurie Sherwen, dean of Samson College.“What the center does is not only allow us to educate our students and expose them to what it would be like to care for the elderly in this new world, it also provides a wonderful platform for interprofessional faculty research.”
Genesis CARES already has a busy slate lined up for the spring semester, including a continuation of the seminars with four new educational events, a special event for the graduating class aimed at career building, and a senior health fair at the Montgomeryville Mall.
USciences and Genesis have had a strong relationship for past 15 years. The Genesis CARES partnership helps to focus the efforts of both organizations. It also gives students the opportunity to get better training for their careers.
“We share a common vision. The first vision is that we need students to pursue the allied health fields– the PTs, OTs, nurse practitioners, and so forth,” said Dan Hirschfeld executive vice president and president of Genesis Rehab Services. “We at Genesis are about our therapists, but also about the patient…It’s great that we are able to partner and show the students what really happens in a post-acute setting, so they can understand.”
The result last year had Genesis Healthcare placing 37 USciences students on field work sites, and hiring seven occupational and three physical therapy graduates in addition to three students as techs while they are going through the program.
With the backing from Genesis Healthcare, Genesis CARES has the flexibility to sponsor faculty research aimed at the elderly population. The center sponsored two presentations at the regional conference on aging and will provide seed money for research that produce more collaborative projects for faculty and students.
“It’s wonderful that corporate America has aligned with a spectacular academic institution with a motivation that is truly pure – to improve the health and wellbeing of elders in our society,” Hager emphasized.
Photo 1: (left to right) Dan Hirschfeld executive vice president and president of Genesis Rehab Services; Dr. Paula Kramer, chair of USciences’ Occupational Therapy Department and center director; Dr. Laurie Sherwen, dean of Samson College; and George V. Hager, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Genesis HealthCare as well as a USciences board of trustee member.
Photo2: (left to right) Hirschfeld, Hager, and Dr. Sherwen share a moment before the kick off.
Photo 3: USciences faculty and staff along with representatives from Genesis Healthcare gathered for the event.