Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)
Salt Lake City GRECC
The Salt Lake City GRECC has been serving older Veterans since 1991.
Research Focus Areas
Vascular dynamic changes in advanced age
Metadata analysis in geriatrics
Glycemic determinants of dementia onset
Telehealth applications for rural geriatrics
The Salt Lake City GRECC's research program is broadly categorized into applied clinical, basic biomedical and health services research. Applied clinical studies include evaluation of strategies to reverse the characteristics of aging such as the contributors to vascular stiffness and genetic charcteristics of geriatric hypertension and the integrated assessment of blood flow and metabolic regulation of both aging and diseased skeletal muscle. Improved understanding of age-related cardiovascular and skeletal muscle changes will lead to ways to improve mobility and functional status. Basic biomedical investigations focus on fundamental changes during aging, which lead to impaired immunity, impairments in the physiological status of important organs and the decline in brain function specifically focusing on altered inflammatory status in the brain. Health service studies test interventions to improve outcomes, mainly focusing on medical informatics and computerized clinical systems with respect to decision support tools and collection of data for surveillance, analysis, and program evaluation.
Education and Evaluation
The Salt Lake City GRECC in close collaboration with its affiliate, the University of Utah School of Medicine, offers a variety of professional educational opportunities for both VA and non-VA health care providers and administrators. The GRECC sponsors both an ACGME accredited Clinical Geriatric Medicine Fellowship and the VA Advanced Geriatric Fellowship (Research), an associated health trainee training program. Monthly clinical and research Grand Rounds presentations are archived and offer durable CME. An annual 2-day Rocky Mountain Geriatric CME Conference attracts an interprofessional audience to obtain the latest updates in geriatric care. In addition, specialized education programs for rural VA providers in VISN 19 are supported based on ongoing need assessments. GRECC faculty also support the HRSA-funded Utah Geriatric Education Center that is developing and evaluating educational programs to improve the care of residents in long term care facilities.
GRECC clinical demonstration projects include a range of geriatric care models. Recent projects have developed innovative programs to educate caregivers for Veterans with dementia in rural areas (Support for Caregivers of Rural Elderly with Dementia - SCORE) and the Veterans Community Partnership and Outreach Program utilizes clinical video telehealth support and dementia care that is delivered in rural VA clinics. Several projects supported by the Office of Rural Health have been developed to improve care delivery for Veterans with rheumatic disorders and vascular disease and deliver exercise training and cardiac rehabilitation to rural areas. Current projects include "Connecting Older Veterans Especially Rural to Community or Veteran Eligible Resources" (COVER to COVER) which increases access for Veterans through collaboration with community agencies using No Wrong Door approaches to benefits counseling, and the development of an internet-based shared care plan that allows for coordination of care between VA providers and home health agencies that the VA contracts with that will lay the groundwork for a new care planning solution that will interoperate with community providers.