News Archive

New Affiliated School

The Penn State HCGNE announced its new affiliation with the University of Virginia School of Nursing. As part of the HCGNE’s primary mission to promote geriatric nursing education, this affiliation increased student involvement in educational opportunities across both universities. The first joint activity was the launch of the Hartford Center Journal Club on November 13, 2008.

Kitko selected to 2008 Grantmakers in Aging Fellows Program

Lisa Kitko, Penn State Nursing Instructor and Ph.D. candidate, was one of seven graduate and post-doctoral students selected to the 2008 Grantmakers in Aging (GIA) Fellows Program. Kitko was offered the GIA Fellowship to attend the annual conference in October in Princeton, New Jersey. The theme of this year's conference is "The Power of Knowledge: Lighting the way for bold advances in aging philanthropy."

IOM Releases Health Care Workforce Report

The Institute of Medicine recently released a comprehensive, book-length report entitled, "Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Health Care Work Force." The report argues that the health care workforce lacks both the size and the skill to care for the growing older population and its unique needs. There are not enough geriatric specialists, and generalists do not have enough training and experience to properly treat older patients. The report recommends increasing the recruitment and retention of geriatric specialists and improving all health professionals' ability to deliver high quality geriatric care. Further, today’s care models and reimbursement systems are not well matched to the needs of patients with chronic illnesses.

The IOM report lays out a three-pronged strategy with associated recommendations that focuses on:

  • Improving all health professionals’ ability to deliver geriatric care
  • Increasing the recruitment and retention of geriatric specialists and caregivers
  • Redesigning models of care and broadening provider and patient roles to achieve greater flexibility.

Work at the Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence at Penn State involves developing and testing a new model for training Geriatric Nurse Educators that relates directly to Retooling for an Aging America and its concern for improving health professionals’ ability to deliver geriatric care and increasing the recruitment and retention of geriatric specialists, particularly geriatric nurses.

In addition to training an increased number of Geriatric Nurse Educators, the research being conducted by the Hartford faculty is providing important insights into delirium in persons with dementia, primary care in rural elderly populations, palliative care needs for elderly patients and their spousal caregivers, oral health in older adults residing in long term care communities, quality of life in nursing home residents with dementia, health care behaviors of older male prisoners, incorporating technology to enhance distance education, and medication adherence in the elderly.

Mahan Joins Hartford Center

The Penn State Hartford Center is pleased to announce Wendy L. Mahan, Ph.D., has been appointed as the instructional designer for the center. Dr. Mahan will work with Hartford faculty to transition courses for the Master of Science, Geriatric Nurse Educator option to deliver cutting edge courses using online and blended format modalities.

Contact information for Dr. Mahan is as follows: Wendy L. Mahan, Penn State University, School of Nursing, 107 HHD East, University Park, PA, 16802, Telephone: 814-865-1095;

External Advisory Board Meeting

The Pennsylvania State HCGNE had its first External Advisory Board Meeting on April 23, 2008. Hartford faculty, staff and Advisory Board members offered suggestions and recommendations for positioning the Penn State HCGNE to make unique contributions to geriatric nursing education. Attendees also discussed how the work of the Center supports the priorities for recruitment and retention of geriatric specialists as highlighted in the Institute of Medicine’s Health Care Workforce report.

Careers in Aging Week

As part of the Careers in Aging Week, the Penn State HCGNE was a sponsor of the Gerontology Center’s poster display and reception to celebrate the many contributions students and faculty make to the study of aging. The theme of the display was “Research in Aging: Diverse Issues, Different Disciplines” and highlighted the varied research being conducted in the field of aging at Penn State.


At the 20th Anniversary Scientific Sessions of the Easter Nursing Regional Society Conference Penn State nursing student Kathy Wilt received the 2nd place award for the “Outstanding MS Poster Presentation” for her poster entitled “The Association of Anticholinergic Burden with Mental Status Changes in Hospitalized Older Adults with Dementia.” The poster presentation was based on Kathy’s Schreyer’s Honors Thesis work in which she examined the association of subjects’ anticholinergic medication burden and both delirium and cognitive status changes throughout hospitalization.

Penrod and Hupcey receive grants

Two faculty members of the Hartford Center, Dr. Janice Penrod and Dr. Judith Hupcey, have been awarded mutli-year research grants investigating caregiver and palliative care needs:

Penrod, J. & Hupcey, J. E., Exploring the informal/formal caregiver interface across 3 death trajectories. NIH/National Institute of Nursing Research, 1R01 NR010127-01, 2008/2012

Hupcey, J. E., Penrod, J., & Boehmer, J. Investigation of palliative care needs of elderly heart failure patients and their spousal caregivers. The American Heart Association, Pennsylvania/Delaware Affiliate, Grant-in-Aid program. 2006/2008

Fick authors new paper

Dr. Donna Fick is the first author on a new "How To Try This" that will be coming out in January 2008 titled, "How To Try This - Delirium Superimposed on Dementia: An algorithm for detecting and managing this underrecognized confluence of conditions." A video will accompany the paper and both will be available at

Fick is currently working on a video that discusses medication use and will be available Spring 2008.

In addition to her other responsibilities, Fick is an editorial consultant for the American College of Physicians—Physicians' Information and Education Resource (pier) Drug Prescribing in the Older Patient Module. Pier is a comprehensive overview of prescribing in older adults that is updated regularly to provide authoritative, evidence-based guidance to improve clinical care.

Loeb receives multi-year grant

Dr Susan Loeb recently received a multi-year grant from the National Institute on Aging, 1R03AG029544-01, $82,000 Direct Costs, September 30, 2007 – August 31, 2009, to investigate “Factors influencing the health-promotion behaviors of older male inmates." Loeb was also the recipient of the 2007 Springer Publishing Company Award in Geriatric/Gerontological Nursing for a Distinguished Single Work of Research on Applied Geriatric Nursing Award. She received her award at The Gerontological Society of America’s 60th Annual Scientific Meeting in San Francisco, CA.