MSW Gero-Social Work Initiatives

What is gero-social work?

Gerontological social work is social work practice with older adults - primarily focused on maintaining and enhancing their quality of life.  Gero-social work includes attention to physical, social, familial, cultural, community, and societal factors that serve as barriers to well-being of older adults and their families.   

Why is gero-social work important?

By 2030, all baby boomers will be older than age 65. This will expand the size of the older population so that 1 in every 5 residents will be retirement age (US Census 2017 projections). The number of Minnesotans turning 65 in the current decade will be greater than the past four decades combined. Around 2020, Minnesota's 65+ population is expected to eclipse the 5-17 (K-12) population, for the first time in history (MN State Demographic Center, 2018). These demographic changes have created a need for social workers with interest, education, and experience working with older adults and their families.

Area of Emphasis in Aging (AEA) Scholars

AEA Scholars come together with faculty, alumni/ae, and community members who specialize in aging, in a two-year program of coursework that includes:

  • Courses, course assignments, research and events specific to education about the aging population
  • Leadership opportunities within their AEA Scholars cohort 
  • Clinical practicum in a setting which provides services to the aging population. 
  • Tuition stipend of $1000

AEA Scholars will take the following electives:

  • GRSW 523: Practice with Older Adults and Their Families
  • GRSW 623: Clinical Practice with Older Adults

Priority application deadline : April 1. When available, the application to apply to the AEA Scholars program will be found on the Scholarships & Grants page»

The AEA Scholars program was piloted through a generous grant from the Council on Social Work Education Gero-Ed Center Specialized Gerontology Program, and is sustained through support from the School of Social Work.