Veterans Affairs Geriatric Scholars Program: Enhancing Existing Primary Care Clinician Skills in Caring for Older Veterans

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2016 Nov;64(11):2343-2348. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14382. Epub 2016 Oct 3.


The Veterans Affairs Geriatric Scholars Program (GSP) is a continuing professional development program to integrate geriatrics into the clinical practices of primary care providers and select associated health professions that support primary care teams. GSP uses a blended program educational format, and the minimal requirements are to attend an intensive course in geriatrics, participate in an interactive workshop on quality improvement (QI), and initiate a local QI project to demonstrate application of new knowledge to benefit older veterans. Using a retrospective post/pre survey design, the effect of GSP on clinical practices and behaviors and variation of that effect on clinicians working in rural and nonrural settings were evaluated. Significant improvement was found in the frequency of using evidence-based brief standardized assessments, clinical decision-making, and standards of care. Significant subgroup differences were observed in peer-to-peer information sharing between rural and nonrural clinicians. Overall, 77% of the sample reported greater job satisfaction after participating in GSP. The program is a successful model for advancing postgraduate education in geriatrics and a model that might be replicated to increase access to quality health care, particularly in rural areas.

Keywords: VA; continuing professional development; education; rural.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Continuing / standards*
  • Geriatrics / education*
  • Health Services for the Aged / standards*
  • Humans
  • Models, Educational
  • Primary Health Care / standards*
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Veterans*