In the 1990s the New York Academy of Medicine made a commitment to answer the question: How can we make the health-care system work better for older adults?
We recognized that making health care more affordable and accessible in the long term would require major policy reforms. But in the short term, people needed help unraveling the current maze of our health-care system.
Our research led us to focus on social workers as the group most capable of handling and negotiating todays complex systems of care. Great, we thought. The more qualified social workers there are in aging, the better the care and support for older adults and their caregivers. When we probed deeper, a clearer picture of the geriatric social work field began to emerge:
The Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education (HPPAE) was created in response to these interconnected trends. It offers a new field approach that exposes students to older adults beyond the nursing-home setting and blurs the line between classroom learning and internships so graduates are prepared for the realities of the workplace.
Today, the program is active in more than five dozen social work schools across the country. Student recruitment is up and more social workers are embarking on careers in aging care. We hope this manual will inspire you to be leaders in the movement to grow this critical workforce, because the country needs more social workers in aging. And this is only the beginning.
HPPAE is a nationally recognized training model that has proven to be effective at recruiting students who will go onto pursue careers in the aging field.