About the GEC

The Florida Coastal Geriatric Resources, Education, and Training Center (GREAT GEC) located within Nova Southeastern University is one of a national network of 46 Geriatric Education Centers in the U.S.A. The GREAT GEC is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA); the interdisciplinary grant was awarded to NSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine.

GEC offers health professions educators, students and community practitioners opportunities to learn more about providing health care to older adults and their families. GEC is dedicated to improving the health care of Florida elders through the education and training of health care providers. All GEC activities are designed to enhance the ability of health care professionals to deliver geriatric and culturally appropriate care.

The GREAT GEC represents a consortium among the ADRC - Aging & Disability Resource Center of Broward County; the West Palm Beach Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center; SW Focal Point Senior Center, City of Pembroke Pines; Jessie Trice Community Health Center and Lee Memorial Geriatric Services, Fort Myers.

Evidence Based Diabetes Project

Diabetes Project Next Steps

National trends indicate an increasing prevalence in diabetes with 42% of the population with diabetes being 65 years or older. It is projected that this proportion will increase to 58% by 2050 (CDC, 2011). Increasing prevalence of diabetes has also impacted associated health care costs. Nearly $174 billion are spent annually for direct and indirect medical costs on diabetes care (CDC, 2010). Average acute hospital annual cost for a diabetic foot ulcer itself accounted for $9,910 in 1996 (CDC, 2011). With the rise in the prevalence of diabetes complications, it becomes imperative to provide training and practice care for our health care professionals to manage the disease. The Evidence Based Practice (EBP) diabetes foot education program funded by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) was developed in consensus with all four GECs (NSU-COM, Arkansas, Texas, and Stanford) involved in this project to improve quality of care of persons with diabetes. The specific goals are to train our health care professionals in diabetes foot assessment and improve patient outcomes.

As a follow up on our proposed idea in the previous article, the EBP project has moved to the next phase. To meet the educational needs of our health care professionals we plan to train nurses, physicians, pharmacists, and physical therapists and follow-up learning outcomes in one group (nurses). The training will be 45 minutes session divided into two parts. The first part will emphasize on complications of diabetes and clinical aspects of foot assessment followed by a practical demonstration of foot inspection. The second part of the session will focus on patient education, an integral part of comprehensive patient care. To execute our training, we have contacted several long term care facilities as potential recruitment sites. We have also developed comprehensive training modules and assessment measures to evaluate the immediate and long-term impact of our training program.

Outcomes of the foot assessment training will be analyzed through changes in clinical practice of health care professionals and improved patient outcomes. A quality improvement (QI) tool will be used to measure the level of education before/after the diabetes foot education training. We expect a 10-15% increase in practice change three month post training. Patient clinical outcomes will be measured for all non-demented patients with diabetes through methodical review of patients charts before and after foot education training. We believe that our diabetes foot education training will have significant impact on practice change and patient outcomes that will be a potential source of publication and practice ideology.

Consortium Partners

The GREAT GEC was established in 2007. It is one of the primary educational outreach centers for the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Center has developed a model community-based program that connects university faculty and students with Florida's populations 55 years and older to promote healthy and positive aging. To assure that the Center connects with the external community, it has established five community consortium partners to carry out its objectives:

  • ADRC - Aging & Disability Resource Center of Broward County
    The Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC) is a nonprofit organization serving Broward County's senior residents, age 60 or older. The Aging and Disability Resource Center of Broward County plans, develops, coordinates, and evaluates programs; funds services; and is the prime advocate for residents of Broward County, Florida, 60 years of age or older. ADRC is one-stop source of information regarding services in Broward County, Florida, for seniors, persons with severe and persistent mental illness, their families, and caregivers.
  • City of Pembroke Pines, SW Focal Point Senior Center
    The SW Focal Point Senior Center is a non-profit county run gathering place where older adults, age 60 and over, can participate in activities and share experiences with others. The center has a professional staff providing services for elders interested in improving the quality of life and aging while maintaining a functionally intact status. Programs include nutrition, low cost breakfast and lunch, recreation and leisure, health and related services, information and referral, counseling, adult day care, and transportation.
  • West Palm Beach Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center
    West Palm Beach VA Medical Center opened in 1995, the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center provides primary and secondary level health care to approximately 70,000 eligible veterans in seven-county area (Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, Okeechobee, Glades and Henry). Comprehensive services include acute medical, surgical, and psychiatric inpatient and out-patient services in each specialty.
  • Jessie Trice Community Health Center, Miami
    JTCHC is one of the Florida's largest community health centers serving a large, highly diverse, low income senior population in urban area of Miami, FL. JTCHC is matching students and faculty members with home-bound seniors to pilot a new health promotions and wellness "one stop" project for elders who would otherwise not leave their homes or obtain medical assistance.
  • Lee Memorial Geriatric Services, Fort Myers
    A west coast model community-based geriatric center (primarily rural setting) serving the medical, psychological and social needs of seniors from three adjoining west coast counties including Charlotte County Florida with the nation's highest population of residents over 85 years of age. The center is focusing the most on healthy lifestyles with attention to programs in mental health and falls prevention.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Florida Coastal Geriatric Resources, Education, and Training Center is to provide interdisciplinary programs to maintain and improve the health of ethnically and culturally diverse older adults from underserved areas of Broward, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Henry, Lee, Martin, Palm Beach, Sarasota, and St. Lucie counties, educating and training health professionals in health promotion and prevention emphasizing undergraduate and graduate professional education and serving the needs of underserved with innovative teaching and clinical experiences.

Facilitated by a consortium, the project will train health professions students, faculty, and practitioners using an interdisciplinary team community-based model with sensitivity to the special requirements of ethno culturally diverse elders within rural and urban service settings.

One of the cornerstones of the GECs throughout the U.S. is to encourage, enhance and continually promote the profession of geriatrics to students at all levels of education. The GREAT GEC is committed to this important goal. The center, faculty and staff realize that students must be involved in working with elders to understand and realize the reward of a career in geriatrics.


  • Provide health professions students with interdisciplinary ethno-geriatric education and clinical training in health promotion, disease prevention, and enhanced quality of life for older adults, through innovative curriculum adaptation and development, involvement in rural and urban clinical placements, geriatric residencies, traineeships, and fellowships.
  • Develop interdisciplinary student health care teams providing holistic, culturally sensitive, coordinated services for elders to maintain independence and/or improve quality of life.
  • Develop and disseminate innovative interdisciplinary geriatric curriculum and other geriatric education materials for health professions students, faculty, and practicing professionals using web-based technology and interdisciplinary problem-based (PBL) methods.
  • Establish for future master geriatrics educators within the existing M.S. in Education for Health Professions, a specialization in Interdisciplinary geriatrics Education enabling up to 10 health professions and health professions-related faculty to obtain up to 18 credit hours yearly and additional faculty development for other faculty.
  • Acquire multidisciplinary awareness relevant to the care of older adults in all-hazard preparedness so they are able to participate in prevention, response, and recovery from such events and assist seniors to be prepared for such events as well.
  • Provide training, service, technical assistance and research outreach to a South Florida region not being served by a GEC, including the east and west coasts and inland areas.
  • Acquire basic knowledge of historical trends, public policy and the legislative process as they impact the health care delivery system for older adults from a local, state and national perspective and integrate this into the core-required course.
  • Identify the psychological issues that affect older adults and integrate this within the healthcare they provide

About Nova Southeastern University (NSU)

Located on a beautiful 314-acre campus in Fort Lauderdale, NSU has more than 29,000 students and is the largest independent institution of higher education in Florida. Nova Southeastern University is the largest independent institution of higher education in the Southeast, and it is the seventh largest independent institution nationally. NSU awards associate's, bachelor's, master's, educational specialist, doctoral, and first-professional degrees in a wide range of fields. The university is comprised of undergraduate, graduate and professional schools of osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, optometry, health care sciences, nursing, medical sciences, dental medicine, law, marine biology and oceanography, business and entrepreneurship, computer and information sciences, humanities, conflict resolution, family therapy, interdisciplinary studies, education, psychology and counseling, and family programs.

The institution also enjoys an excellent reputation for its programs for families offered through the Mailman Segal Center for Human Development and University School, including innovative parenting, preschool, primary, and secondary education programs. Learn more about NSU.

Nova Southeastern University Clinics

About NSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine

Established in 1979, Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine (NSU-COM) accepted its first class in 1981. NSU-COM is currently ranked as the 11th largest medical school and the 4th largest osteopathic medical school in the nation. NSU is the largest independent not-for-profit institution of higher education in the Southeast and the 6th largest nationally. Please visit the College of Osteopathic Medicine website for more information.

Socio-Medical Issues in Aging