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 2020, one in six Americans are projected to be age 65 and older, with the most dramatic growth among those over age 85, elders of color, and women." (CSWE Gero-Ed Center, 2011). These demographic changes will, in turn, lead to a need for social workers with interest, education, and experience working with older adults and their families. 

The St. Kate's - St. Thomas School of Social Work offers two gero-social work initiatives for MSW students, both described below:

  1. Area of Emphasis in Aging (AEA) Scholars
  2. The Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education (HPPAE) Program

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

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.


The Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education (HPPAE)

The HPPAE program provides an opportunity to explore geriatric social work as part of the foundation year of the MSW curriculum.  Specifically, the program offers:

  • Foundation level field placement in full-time summer block format.
  • Field Rotational Model – placement in two different agencies that serve the aging population.
  • Tuition stipend of $1,000.

Who can apply?
Accepted Regular Standing students interested in gero-social work practice and planning to complete their foundation placement in summer block format.  Advanced Standing students are not eligible.

Click HERE to apply for the HPPAE Scholarship. Please note:  You will not have the ability to save the application while in-progress and return later.  You may click the application link to review the full application and questions before returning to submit.