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UMaine Center on Aging

The mission of the Center On Aging is to promote and facilitate activities on aging
in the areas of education, research and evaluation, and community service.


Interprofessional Graduate Certificate in Gerontology at the University of Maine


Online Courses Now Underway!

 Click here to view a flyer describing the Interprofessional Graduate Certificate in Gerontology

Please  click here  to view videos describing the Certificate and the course SWK583 (GRN500) "The Opportunities and Challenges of Aging"

The Interprofessional Graduate Certificate in Gerontology at the University of Maine is a 5-course, 12-credit, program offered on-line. It is designed to increase the knowledge, skills, and abilities of health and human service professionals who provide care to older adults and their caregivers in various settings. The curriculum, offered via distance-education technology, meets the needs of working professionals everywhere, who, because of the rapidly aging population, find themselves caring for a growing number of older adults.

Social workers, nurses and nurse practitioners, speech-language pathologists, dieticians, and others in the health and human services who were prepared as generalists will benefit from the focus on the needs of older adults and their caregivers. Certificate program graduates will be prepared to function as members of interprofessional teams to effectively address the health and human service needs of an increasingly diverse aging population. Individual courses in the certificate program may be taken as electives by graduate students. In addition, courses may be modified for undergraduate students who wish to take one or more courses as electives.

Expert faculty in a range of health and human service professions  including social work, nursing, human nutrition, speech-language pathology, psychology, and psychiatry will lead and serve as guest speakers in the required courses.


Guiding Principles of the Interprofessional Certificate in Gerontology

  • Focus on the opportunities and challenges of aging and in working with older adults and their caregivers.
  • Maintain a balance between wellness and illness (not skewed toward infirmity).
  • Appreciate diversity in the aging population in terms of age, race, gender, sexuality, culture/ethnicity, abilities, and differences in life experiences.
  • Emphasize ethical principles in the care of older adults and their caregivers.
  • Demonstrate interdisciplinary team approaches to meet the needs of older adults and caregivers.
  • Recognize similarities and differences in gerontological practice in rural versus urban communities.
  • Enhance cross-generational learning between inexperienced students and those who have professional experience in care of older adults (enrollment will include current graduate students combined with seasoned practitioners).
  • Acknowledge the strengths and assets that the older adult brings to their relationships with others (i.e., untapped resources, strengths, skills, wisdom).
  • Include the voices and the lived experiences of older adults and caregivers in the learning experience.


Graduate Certificate Curriculum (12 credits)

The opportunities and challenges of aging (3 credits) FALL (beginning in 2012)
Life transitions and health in aging (3 credits) SPRING (beginning in 2013)
Best practices in the care of older adults (3 credits) SUMMER (beginning in 2013)
Health policy issues of an aging population (2 credits) FALL (beginning in 2013)
Integrative seminar in gerontology (1 credit) SPRING (beginning in 2014)


Summer 2013 Classes [July 8 through August 19]

GRN 502: Interventions for Care of Older Adults in Diverse Settings (Instructor: Dr. Nancy Fishwick)

Best practice strategies for professionals who work with older adults and caregivers in a variety of settings will be presented. Through study of the health-illness trajectory and transitions in care-settings of older adults who develop chronic and acute health problems, students will gain knowledge and skill in performing assessments and in developing comprehensive interprofessional case management approaches to meet the needs of older adults and their caregivers. Diversity and complexity of health-illness needs, functionality, coping with chronic illness and transitions in care-settings, harm reduction, and a strengths-based approach inform the holistic perspective of this course. Special issues for rural elderly and caregivers are addressed. (3 credits)


Fall 2013 Classes

GRN 500 (Formally SWK583 and SWK 497/597): Overview of the Opportunities and Challenges of Aging (Instructor: Dr. Lenard Kaye)

This course addresses the special challenges and opportunities associated with aging with a special focus on growing old in small towns and rural communities. In addition, it centers on the comparative assessment, treatment, and service delivery implications of gerontological practice for a range of health and human service practitioners. The experience of aging, gerontological theories, and current health and human service policies and programs which impact older adults and their families will be considered. The role and status of older adults as a population group and a potential patient/client group will be assessed recognizing that elders bring both needs and resources to families, communities, and the professional helping relationship. This course also satisifes the elective requirement for the Program in Leadership in Rural Gerontological Practice at the University of Maine School of Social Work. (3 credits)


GRN 503: Health Policy Issues of an Aging Population (Instructor: Lenard Kaye)

This course focuses on the social, economic, and health challenges confronting our society with regard to the aging of the population from policy and program planning perspectives. Students will examine and critically analyze current social and health care policies and trends and resultant service delivery systems as they impact families generally, and older adults specifically. It will consider the historical context out of which the current aging infrastructure has evolved. Policies and legislative mandates will be examined in the context of a scarce resource environment, special interest group politics, and matters of equity, social justice, and fairness. (2 credits)

NOTE: Individual courses in the Certificate program may be taken as electives by graduate students. In addition, courses may be taken by undergraduate students who wish to take one or more courses as electives with the permission of the instructor.


For more information please contact:

Nancy J. Fishwick, PhD, RN, FNP

Director and Associate Professor

 UMaine School of Nursing

 5724 Dunn Hall, Room 217

 Orono, ME  04469-5724

 telephone: 207. 581.2607


Lenard W. Kaye, DSW, PhD

Director, UMaine Center on Aging

Professor, UMaine School of Social Work

Camden Hall, 25 Texas Avenue

Bangor, ME 04401-4324

telephone: 207.262.7922