Geriatric Social Work Education Consortium
"One of the predominant colors in LA in the coming years will be gray."
California is home to more than 3.5 million adults 65 years of age or older – the largest and most ethnically diverse older adult population in the country. The older adult population in Los Angeles County is an estimated 950,000. By 2030, that’s estimated to increase to 2.3 million. This growing aging population highlights the critical need for social workers trained in geriatrics. An estimated 70,000 geriatric social workers will be needed by 2020 but, despite the demand, only an estimated 3% of current graduate students in social work elect to enter geriatric social work.
The Southern California Geriatric Social Work Education Consortium (GSWEC)
The Southern California Geriatric Social Work Education Consortium (GSWEC) is the nation’s first integrated regional network aimed at improving geriatric social work education and field training. This inter-organizational collaboration currently involves the eight Southern California Schools of Social Work at the universities listed below:
- Azusa Pacific University
- California State University, Dominguez Hills
- California State University, Fullerton
- California State University, Long Beach
- California State University, Los Angeles
- California State University, Northridge
- University of California, Los Angeles
- University of Southern California
Teaching to the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) geriatric core competencies and selecting top tier and motivated students, GSWEC strives to develop highly skilled geriatric social workers by providing stipended internships and specialized training. To date, there have been just under 600 GSWEC graduates.
Goals of the Consortium
The overarching goal of the Geriatric Social Work Education Consortium internship program is to increase the number of students who specialize in working with older adults by developing “aging- rich” field internships in the graduate social work education programs within both Los Angeles and Orange County. Ultimately the goal is also to increase the number of social workers who are prepared to be leaders in the field of aging. The program is available to MSW students who are entering their second internship as required for their degree.
The essential components of the GSWEC Internship program are:
• The University-Community Partnership
• Expanded Role for the Field Instructor
• Competency Based Education
• Field Rotations
• Student Recruitment
These five components provide an integrated, coordinated and comprehensive program designed to attract students to geriatric social work practice, and to educate them to demonstrate expertise in working with older adults.
Eleven Centers of Excellence
As one of eleven Centers of Excellence/field placement opportunities (see full list below), Partners in Care is a founding partner in this collaboration of universities and agencies facilitating the GSWEC program. During GSWEC’s inception, Partners in Care administered the grants funded by The John A. Hartford and Archstone Foundations to implement and coordinate the program, strengthen geriatric social work education and increase social workers’ competency in the field of aging.
AltaMed Health Services – www.altamed.org
Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles – www.alzgla.org
Beach Cities Health District – www.bchd.org
Huntington Hospital Senior Care Network – www.huntingtonhospital.org/SCN
Jewish Family Service Los Angeles – www.jfsla.org
Motion Picture Television Fund – www.MPTF.com
Pacific Clinics – www.pacificclinics.org
Partners in Care Foundation
Special Service for Groups/SILVER – www.ssg.org/programs-and-services/older adults/
Department of Veterans Affairs – www.va.gov/grecc
WISE & Healthy Aging – www.wiseandhealthyaging.org/
For field instructors and preceptors – download the GSWEC Operational Manual. This manual is a field education model for aging specialization in MSW programs.
Although funding from The John A. Hartford and Archstone Foundations ended in 2003, Partners in Care in collaboration with agencies and universities has continued their commitment to GSWEC by providing comprehensive field instruction for students.
Maira Robles, who recently interned for Partners Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) spoke about her field training experiences commenting, “I’m excited about being able to provide concrete services working alongside experienced social workers. Partners is a great place to learn and grow professionally.”
If you are interested in meeting the growing demand for geriatric social workers and learning more about field training positions available for GSWEC students, please contact Etta McCurry at firstname.lastname@example.org / 818.837.3775 x 110.