Houston Geriatric Interdisciplinary Team

In May 1995, The Trustees of The John A. Hartford Foundation, Inc. created an innovative $10 million Geriatric Interdisciplinary Team Training (GITT) initiative to improve the care of elders enhancing the interdisciplinary training of health professions' students and professionals. Recognizing that health trainees receive little, if any, explicit instruction on team work, the Foundation's Trustees sought to develop prototypes of geriatric team training that could be tested and then disseminated throughout the country.

Baylor College of Medicine's Huffington Center on Aging was awarded a three year grant, beginning in January of 1997, to develop HGITT - the Houston Geriatric Interdisciplinary Team Training Program. The Huffington Center on Aging combined under its leadership the educational and clinical training expertise of seven educational programs with six primary care facilities to establish HGITT. There were 419 students who received HGITT training between January 1997 and April 2000. These students included medical residents, advanced practice nurses, masters level social workers, pharm D students, psychology students, psychiatry residents, and physician assistant students.

Training Experiences

Here is what some of the students had to say about their training experiences:

  • "Without a doubt - Being exposed to the team concept and participating in the case conference meetings was the best part of my clinical experience."
  • "...there was exposure to many opportunities to utilize practice skills in a variety of situations among different health care disciplines. This allowed me to become comfortable with my skills."
  • "I learned the advantages of [developing] a comprehensive service package for clients when several disciplines communicate with each other about the patient needs and plan of care"
  • "The most important lesson for me in this HGITT workshop was my awareness of the need for interdisciplinary team work in dealing with variables in patient/family needs"
  • "My most important lesson from this HGITT training was the need to have several disciplines assist a given situation so that the majority of issues can be addressed."
  • "I am aware of the importance of interdisciplinary team work in addressing patients' needs"
  • "Team care is very important to bringing together the different points to get a whole picture of the patient."
  • "The best part of my HGITT experience was working with the different disciplines and learning their professional roles."
  • "I had my stereotypes of different disciplines eliminated and help eliminate some about my own professional discipline."

Outcomes

As a result of the JAHF HGITT program, preceptors, Instructors, and program/institution leaders have been trained in HGITT and continue to "infuse" their teaching opportunities with HGITT both in formal required and elective classes, and in teachable moment opportunities; and to "diffuse" HGITT at professional meetings, presentations to groups outside their daily arenas, and through publications. Additional changes such as the following have occurred at the curriculum, faculty, and clinical levels as a result:

  • 419 healthcare students have been trained in HGITT
  • AGIFT consortium at the University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW)
  • TEAM project in Harris Health System
  • Huffington Center on Aging G/GELL
  • Social Work Field opportunities in GITT sites
  • Geri Resource library in the Graduate School of Social Work
  • Growing awareness and interest in Geriatrics at the GSSW
  • Commitment of the Dean of GSSW to develop stipends for Geriatric Social Workers in GITT and AGIFT settings
  • Access for the Psychiatry residents to the Kelsey HGITT resident training and Psychiatry program committed to developing a formal geriatric fellowship for residents
  • Formal HGITT workshops for all disciplines to be offered twice a year

Additional Information

The total budget for the project was $1,670,465, including $145,345 in local matching dollars from the clinical partners and $775,120 in in-kind contributions.

For further information contact:

Nancy L. Wilson
Principal Investigator and Project Director
(713) 798-5804
nwilson@bcm.edu