Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)
GRECC Research Programs
GRECC research generates knowledge about the process of aging and specific diseases.
GRECC Education Programs
The GRECCs provide various methods of staff training designed to meet the needs of the growing population of aging Veterans.
GRECC Clinical Programs
The GRECCs develop and test new models of care that can be exported to other sites at "VA".
What are the GRECCs?
The Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Centers (GRECCs) are United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) centers of excellence focused on aging. They were established by Congress in 1975 in order to improve the health and health care of older Veterans. They have three main missions: (1) to build new knowledge through research; (2) to improve health care through the development of new clinical programs; and (3) to ensure that "VA" staff are educated about aging-related issues. The GRECCs are located at 20 medical centers across the country, and each is connected with a major research university.
Many changes happen during aging. They involve effects on the body, the mind, functioning, and the person’s role in society. Scientific research is the key to understanding these processes and to using the knowledge to keep people as healthy and active as possible. The GRECCs carry out a wide variety of research projects about aging. Some examine how cells and tissues change during aging. Others look at the effects of specific diseases like Alzheimer’s disease or traumatic brain injuries. Various GRECC research projects also look at the effects of new treatments while health services research projects try to determine how the health care system can adapt in order to meet the needs of older Veterans.
All VA staff have contact with older Veterans, and therefore need to have some necessary knowledge and skills. For instance, problems with memory and thinking can impact Veterans’ ability to follow treatment plans or receive care. Medications must be used with more caution in older patients. One of the main GRECC missions is to ensure that VA staff are prepared to work with older Veterans. The GRECCs provide training to "VA" staff across many settings, using various methods such as live lectures, recorded lectures, and printed materials. The GRECCs also evaluate how well their educational programs have met the need for training.
"VA" serves the health needs of older Veterans through numerous clinical programs. With a changing population and advances in knowledge, there is always room for improvement. The GRECCs develop and test new models of care that can be exported to other sites at "VA". These are known as “clinical demonstration projects”. Each GRECC carries out several such projects and many have been used around the country. They provide a way to ensure that older Veterans receive up-to-date and effective health care.