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Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)

Learn more about Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System's GRECC, dedicated to treating aging Veterans and advancing geriatric research.

What are GRECCs?

The Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Centers (GRECCs) are VA centers of excellence focused on aging. Congress established the GRECCs in 1975 to improve the health and healthcare of older Veterans. GRECCs are located at 20 VA medical centers across the country, and each is affiliated with a major research university.

GRECCs have three main missions:

  • To build new knowledge through research
  • To improve healthcare through the development of new clinical programs
  • To ensure that VA staff have adequate knowledge of aging-related issues

Each GRECC builds on these concepts to create its own mission.

Our mission

The major goal and purpose of our GRECC is to advance scientific knowledge of medical, psychological, and social needs of older Veterans; to develop improved and innovative clinical services for older Veterans; and to advance the quality of education in geriatrics and gerontology at CAVHS.

Focus areas

  • Pathogenesis of Alzheimer's dementia
  • Neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia
  • Biology of aging outcomes in skeletal, muscle, central nervous, and cardiovascular systems
  • Exercise and nutrition interventions
  • Advance care planning and palliative care

Current research projects

  • Using drug and non-pharmacological treatments targeting neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia or altering trajectory of neurodegeneration
  • Neuromodulation for enhancing exercise adherence in older adults
  • Defining basic mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease and neurodegeneration, including the role played by disruption of insulin and glucose regulation, similar to diabetes
  • Characterizing events and molecules involved in Alzheimer's disease and related disorders with an emphasis on genetics and inflammation in disease causation and progression
  • COVID-19 impact on dementia and caregiving, on physical activity in older adults, and on biopsychosocial factors of loneliness and social isolation in older, rural, Veterans
  • Impact of statins for prevention of dementia
  • C OVID-19 prophylaxis in Community Living Center (CLC) residents using nitazoxanide
  • Meeting the supportive care needs of chronically and seriously ill Veterans and their caregivers
  • Increasing mobility for older adults through technology and technology-based exercise programs
  • Evaluating staffing methodology in spinal cord injury units and CLCs

Educational initiatives

  • Interactive education 'bursts,' focused on engaging staff in geriatric topics with emphasis on cognitive impairment, dementia, delirium, and depression
  • Monthly webinars and ask-the-expert sessions focused on geriatric care in primary care and CLCs
  • Associated Health Trainee program with monthly interdisciplinary geriatric education and training
  • Host site for Geriatric Scholars tailored to clinical practicum
  • Interdisciplinary format of dementia education for medical students
  • Offers educational development for rural interdisciplinary team training

Clinical innovations

  • Advance Care Planning-Group Visits, a Diffusion of Excellence Initiative, engages Veterans in advance care planning in partnership with the National Social Work Program Office and the Office of Rural Health
  • Geriatric Walking Clinic (partnered with Gerofit for dissemination)
  • Tai Chi for Veterans (clinically sustained with Physical Medicine and Rehabilitative Service and expanding to telehealth)
  • Virtual Geriatrics (formerly known as GRECC Connect) geriatric education collaborative among GRECCs
  • DASH program (collaboration to promote early and progressive patient ambulation during hospitalization)
  • Memory clinic (clinically sustained with Mental Health and refining neuropsychology battery to predict function)

Featured publications

Ablation of amyloid precursor protein increases insulin-degrading enzyme levels and activity in brain and peripheral tissues Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab

Evaluating the Use of Mobile Health Technology in Older Adults With Heart Failure: Mixed-Methods Study JMIR Aging

An Individualized Low-Intensity Walking Clinic Leads to Improvement in Frailty Characteristics in Older Veterans J Fraility Aging

Serum Albumin at Diagnosis is an Independent Predictor of Early Mortality in Veteran Patients with Esophageal Cancer Nutr Cancer

A guide for using NIH Image J for single slice cross-sectional area and composition analysis of the thigh from computed tomography PLoS One

Little Rock GRECC

Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System
4700 West 7th Street
Little Rock, Arkansas 72205


University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences


  • GRECC Director: Dennis H. Sullivan, MD
  • Associate GRECC Director, Clinical Research: Kalpana Padala, MD
  • Associate GRECC Director, Health Services Research: Ramona Rhodes, MD
  • Associate GRECC Director, Education and Evaluation: Lana Brown, PhD, RN
  • Associate GRECC Director, Clinical: Prasad Padala, MD
  • Administrative Officer: Julie M. Smith


Learn more about the VA's Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center program