Coastal Carolina University is one of three state
higher learning chosen to take a leading role in the new South Carolina
Geriatric Education Center, which is being established in an effort to
help improve the quality of life for older South Carolinians. The
College of Health Professions at the Medical University of South
Carolina (MUSC) has received a five-year $1.25 million grant from the
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services to develop the project.
The center will develop collaborative efforts across the state to
provide educational and training programs in geriatrics and gerontology
for students, faculty and practicing health and social services
providers. Other institutions involved in the collaboration are the
University of South Carolina, South Carolina State University and the
South Carolina Health Education Consortium. The center, under the
direction of Esther M. Forti, R.N., a rural health specialist and
assistant professor at MUSC, will be located in the MUSC College of
Health Professions, Office of Research.
Coastal is the only institution of higher education in the state
which offers a gerontology certificate at the bachelor's level.
"Through this collaboration, our program at Coastal will be made
available across the state through distance education," says Billy
Hills, an associate professor of psychology at Coastal and director of
Coastal's gerontology program. "In the past two decades, the South
Carolina coastal region, and the Myrtle Beach area in particular, has
become more and more of a retirement destination, so it's critical that
we provide the best possible training for health professionals who seek
expertise in aging and aging services."
Activities of the center will include developing a Web page that
will be a clearinghouse with links to other aging resources throughout
the state and nation, designing an aging health career program for
minority high school students, delivering regional rural community
forums on aging issues with a statewide aging summit, and creating
Internet-based courses for a statewide certificate program in
geriatrics and gerontology. There will be an emphasis on health
promotion, mental health, diversity and ethnogeriatrics, end-of-life
and palliative care, and outreach to rural and medically underserved.
The project's theme is "Healthy Aging: Preparing for the Best to
Given the rural nature of South Carolina, the program's emphasis
on distance education will enable more providers to become current with
major issues relating to caring for older adults. Collaboration among
universities and service agencies allows for shared resources.
For more information, contact Hills at 349-2276 or call (843) 792-