$4.9 million for Hartford Doctoral Fellows program in geriatric social work

09/16/04

A $4.89 million five-year grant from The John A. Hartford Foundation of New York City to The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) will continue and significantly expand the Hartford Doctoral Fellows program. The Hartford Doctoral Fellows program supports outstanding doctoral students whose dissertation research is focused on improving the health and well being of older persons and their families. The Hartford Doctoral Fellows program, begun in 2000, is designed to cultivate the next generation of social work faculty, who will become teachers, role models, and mentors for future generations of social workers caring for older persons and their families.

The new grant supports three additional cohorts of Hartford Doctoral Fellows to be selected in 2005, 2006 and 2007 for a two-year fellowship. The award includes a $25,000 dissertation grant for each year matched by $10,000 from the student's university resulting in a total financial aid package of $70,000 over two years for the selected Doctoral Fellow. In addition to the dissertation grants, the fellowship provides an array of career development enhancements including supplemental career counseling and pre-conference institutes at professional meetings such as the annual scientific meeting of GSA. Funding is available to support the selection of up to 42 new Doctoral Fellows. Additional information about the Doctoral Fellows program is available at http://www.gswi.org/programs_services/index.html.

A new addition to the Doctoral Fellows program is a pre-dissertation award designed to encourage more social work doctoral students to consider gerontology. Three waves of 20 students in the second or third year of their doctoral programs will be selected in 2005, 2006 and 2007 for a one-year award. This part of the Doctoral Fellows program will be conducted in conjunction with the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGE-SW).

There are over 600,000 practicing social workers in the United States, but few are specifically trained for geriatric practice. While most practicing social workers report that geriatric knowledge is essential in their professional work, less than 10% of social work students at the doctoral level presently conduct dissertation research that focuses on older adults. The Hartford Doctoral Fellows Program was specifically created by the Hartford Foundation to increase the number of social work doctoral students choosing aging now and in the future. Among other requirements, applicants to the Hartford Doctoral Fellows program must commit to seeking a full-time faculty position in an accredited social work program. The Doctoral Fellows program compliments the Hartford Faculty Scholars Program, also administered by The GSA, which is designed to create social work faculty leaders specializing in geriatric research and training.

The Principal Investigator and Program Director for the Hartford Doctoral Fellows program is James Lubben, the inaugural holder of the Louise McMahon Ahearn University Chair at Boston College. A distinguished group of geriatric social work scholars serve on the National Program Advisory Committee: A.E. (Ted) Benjamin, University of California, Los Angeles; Barbara Berkman, Program Director of the Hartford Faculty Scholars Program; Denise Burnette, Columbia University; Namkee Choi, University of Texas at Austin; Larry Davis, University of Pittsburgh; Ruth Dunkle, University of Michigan; Jay Greenberg, University of Wisconsin; Carmen Morano, University of Maryland at Baltimore; and Nancy Morrow-Howell, Washington University at St. Louis.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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