The Hartford Center at Penn State

The John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence at Penn State is a community of nurse educators, clinicians, and researchers whose leadership is actively improving health care for older adults in America.

Housed within the College of Nursing, the Center was established in 2007 through funding from The John A. Hartford Foundation with a mission to prepare a growing number of nurse educators who possess both the passion and the expertise to create the future of gerontological nursing education and practice.

Consistent with this mission, the Hartford Center offers state-of-the-art graduate programs in gerontological nursing education and research. Many courses are offered online, including a post-master's certificate in Geriatric Nursing Education. With the advanced videoconferencing technology available throughout Penn State, University Park classes are accessible to students at campuses across Pennsylvania.

Harleah Buck Spotlight Image

Leah Buck featured as a Change AGEnt

Assistant Professor Harleah Buck is featured as a Change AGEnt by the Hartford Change AGEnt Initiative. Leah’s project, “Improving Rural Geriatric Care through Education,” funded by the Highmark Foundation, seeks to improve the quality of health care for rural geriatric patients by mentoring RNs at critical-access hospitals and designing distance-education programs to meet their needs.

Center Offerings

Through the College of Nursing, the Hartford Center at Penn State offers:

Graduate degree programs
Ph.D. – preparing nurses to teach at the graduate level and to enrich the body of gerontological knowledge that will define the future of nursing care.
M.S. – preparing nurses to teach at the undergraduate level and to disseminate gerontological nursing knowledge across diverse practice settings.
Post-Master's Certificate program
Fully-online Post-Master's Certificate in Geriatric Nursing Education – helping current nurse educators to retool their knowledge base, consistent with the growing need for gero expert nurse teachers and clinicians, especially in rural areas.
Postdoctoral Fellowship study
The Claire M. Fagin Fellowship award, funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation through the American Academy of Nursing, provides support for doctorally prepared nurses to be mentored by one of our center’s renowned geriatric nurse researchers.


Penn State Hartford Center Newsletter


The Hartford Center at Penn State also serves as a regional clearinghouse for gerontological nursing information, training, and other resources.

Media Stories

Read Reuters interview with Co-director Donna Fick about new American College of Surgeons guidelines for geriatric patients

Watch “The Future is Here: Geriatric Nursing in the 21st Century

Listen to the WPSU radio story, “Pennsylvania People: A Portrait of Family-Centered Alzheimer's Care

Access the 2010 Institute of Medicine report on “The Future of Nursing” in America.


Learn about funding for Hartford Center graduate study.


Apply to one of our graduate programs.


View our schedule of upcoming public events.


Contribute to our mission of bettering nursing care for older adults.