Mar 06 2010

Gerontology director on health reform: Don’t wait for dust to settle

Posted at 3:06 pm under AGHE conference 2010

So we need more professionals with specialized training in the issues of older adulthood — how do we get them?

One of people offering suggestions at the national conference of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) was Suzanne R. Kunkel, director of the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Ohio and a past president of AGHE. The conference held March 4-7 at the Peppermill Resort in Reno.

Kunkel suggested these steps for spreading the word about gerontology:

  • Embrace non-traditional models of education, including distance learning and experiential learning. Ohio, she said, is pioneering the concept of “stackable certificates.” Students earn credential for intermediate series of courses, which can be used to enter the job market at various points or combined into a traditional degree.
  • Develop and teach meaningful core competencies. “If we can’t tell employers what our … degrees mean, we have failed,” she said. “Gone are the days of knowledge just for knowledge’s sake.”
  • Increase visibility of gerontology. Work to have gerontology degrees and credentials made part of formal job requirements.

Kunkel said that with health-care reform on the verge of being passed now¬† is the time to be “bold.”

“We can’t wait for the dust to settle because if we do we’ll be buried under the dust.”

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