Our group was formed to address the challenges faced by older adults in Detroit, Michigan area. Facing these challenges is critical, given the high rates of mortality for chronic disease conditions such as hypertension, arthritis, diabetes, cerebrovascular disease, and congestive heart failure, and the high rate of hospitalization faced by this population in metropolitan Detroit. For example, a report compiled by the Detroit Area Agency on Aging (2003) concluded that Detroit area seniors are dying from preventable illnesses, and that improved access to high-quality and cost-effective services is needed to address these challenges. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act provides new opportunities for social workers to address these concerns by lending their considerable expertise to health care teams tasked with preventing disease, reducing health disparities, and cutting health care costs (Pace, 2013). However, social workers need further training in the health-related needs, and opportunities facing older adults.
As a school of social work situated in a diverse urban area that has experienced sustained and profound economic challenges, we confront an urgent need to address barriers to geriatric care through geriatric social work expertise. To address this need, we began the Gerontology Affinity Group in 2013 as a means of enhancing aging/gerontology research, education, training and community engagement within the Wayne State University School of Social Work and to position the school for interdisciplinary collaboration.
We welcome your participation. Feel free to contact Vanessa Rorai, project coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you wish to contact us about this important initiative.
Fay Martin Keys