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Release: May 15, 2001

UI receives $2 million grant to strengthen geriatric education

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa has received a $2 million, four-year grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to strengthen geriatric education and training at the UI College of Medicine.

The effort, which will begin July 1, will draw on the collaborative strengths of the UI departments of internal medicine and family medicine.

Nationally, Iowa has the third highest proportion of citizens over age 65 and the highest proportion of citizens over 85. Nearly 55 percent of the state's elderly live in rural locations, posing significant challenges to health care delivery.

"As the state's only allopathic medical school, the University of Iowa College of Medicine bears a substantial responsibility to develop timely solutions to these challenges," said Gary Rosenthal, M.D., UI associate professor and director of the Division of General Internal Medicine and principal investigator of the new educational effort.

Rosenthal said the grant will support the development of innovative instructional activities that will be targeted to different groups of learners, including medical students, residents and community-based physicians.

To support these educational goals, the grant, in conjunction with UI funds, will create endowed professorships so that UI professors with expertise in geriatrics have the time and resources to concentrate on teaching and serve as role models.

Additional program efforts include developing clinical venues for teaching multi-disciplinary geriatric management and providing online a Geriatric Virtual Hospital with digitized lectures and Web-based support aids.

"The grant will allow us to capitalize on a tradition of innovation in curriculum, strong links to Iowa's medical community and nationally renowned programs in distance learning," Rosenthal said. "A major factor in the success of our proposal was the commitment to geriatrics by the dean of the UI College of Medicine, Dr. Robert P. Kelch."

"This award puts the University of Iowa among an elite group of institutions nationally and at the forefront of efforts to improve geriatric education," Kelch said.

In addition to Rosenthal, Gerald Jogerst, M.D., UI associate professor of family medicine, will serve as co-principal investigator for the new educational effort.

"The award will build on a talented UI geriatric faculty and allow us to develop new educational programs that ultimately will improve the care of Iowa's frail elderly," Jogerst said.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Reynolds was the founder and principal owner of the Donrey Media Group. When he died in 1993, the company included over 70 businesses, the majority of which were in the communications and media field. The sale of the Donrey Media Group in 1993 provided for the foundation's endowment. Headquartered in Las Vegas, it is one of the largest private foundations in the United States.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.