I am very pleased to share the following press release with you announcing the continued funding of the Hartford Doctoral Fellows program by the John A. Hartford Foundation. The continuation of this project includes a new component for pre-doctoral students and AGE SW will be a partner in developing this important area. Thanks to Jim O'Sullivan, Jim Lubben, Linda Harootyan and all the others associated with this project who invited AGE SW to collaborate on this exciting new venture! Thanks also to the AGE SW board members who provided input. I look forward to this wonderful partnership with the Hartford Foundation and GSA. Watch for news of this project as it develops.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  For further information, contact: September 15, 2004 Dr. James Lubben (617) 552-1366 or lubben@bc.edu

$4.9 Million for Hartford Doctoral Fellows Program in Geriatric Social Work

A $4.89 million five-year grant from The John A. Hartford Foundation of New York City to The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) will continue and significantly expand the Hartford Doctoral Fellows program. The Hartford Doctoral Fellows program supports outstanding doctoral students whose dissertation research is focused on improving the health and well being of older persons and their families.  The Hartford Doctoral Fellows program, begun in 2000, is designed to cultivate the next generation of social work faculty, who will become teachers, role models, and mentors for future generations of social workers caring for older persons and their families.
The new grant supports three additional cohorts of Hartford Doctoral Fellows to be selected in 2005, 2006 and 2007 for a two-year fellowship. The award includes a $25,000 dissertation grant for each year matched by $10,000 from the student’s university resulting in a total financial aid package of $70,000 over two years for the selected Doctoral Fellow. In addition to the dissertation grants, the fellowship provides an array of career development enhancements including supplemental career counseling and pre-conference institutes at professional meetings such as the annual scientific meeting of GSA. Funding is available to support the selection of up to 42 new Doctoral Fellows. Additional information about the Doctoral Fellows program is available at http://www.gswi.org/programs_services/index.html.

A new addition to the Doctoral Fellows program is a pre-dissertation award designed to encourage more social work doctoral students to consider gerontology. Three waves of 20 students in the second or third year of their doctoral programs will be selected in 2005, 2006 and 2007 for a one-year award. This part of the Doctoral Fellows program will be conducted in conjunction with the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGE-SW).

There are over 600,000 practicing social workers in the United States, but few are specifically trained for geriatric practice. While most practicing social workers report that geriatric knowledge is essential in their professional work, less than 10% of social work students at the doctoral level presently conduct dissertation research that focuses on older adults. The Hartford Doctoral Fellows Program was specifically created by the Hartford Foundation to increase the number of social work doctoral students choosing aging now and in the future. Among other requirements, applicants to the Hartford Doctoral Fellows program must commit to seeking a full-time faculty position in an accredited social work program. The Doctoral Fellows program compliments the Hartford Faculty Scholars Program, also administered by The GSA, which is designed to create social work faculty leaders specializing in geriatric research and training.

The Principal Investigator and Program Director for the Hartford Doctoral Fellows program is James Lubben, the inaugural holder of the Louise McMahon Ahearn University Chair at Boston College. A distinguished group of geriatric social work scholars serve on the National Program Advisory Committee: A.E. (Ted) Benjamin, University of California, Los Angeles; Barbara Berkman, Program Director of the Hartford Faculty Scholars Program; Denise Burnette, Columbia University; Namkee Choi, University of Texas at Austin; Larry Davis, University of Pittsburgh; Ruth Dunkle, University of Michigan; Jay Greenberg, University of Wisconsin; Carmen Morano, University of Maryland at Baltimore; and Nancy Morrow-Howell, Washington University at St. Louis.

The Doctoral Fellows program is part of a major initiative funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation to improve the care and well being of older adults and their families by strengthening geriatric social work. A copy of their 2003 Annual Report featuring geriatric social work is available on line at: http://www.jhartfound.org/JAHF_03_AR_Single_Page.pdf

The Gerontological Society of America was founded in 1945 and, with 5,500 members, is the largest research organization in aging and a leader in the advancement of knowledge, generation of new ideas and translation of research findings into practice. The Society publishes the field’s leading multidisciplinary scientific journals. The National Academy on an Aging Society serves as the Society’s policy institute and forum on aging issues. The Association for Gerontology in Higher Education is a special unit within the Society that focuses on education and training issues. More information about GSA is available at http://www.geron.org/.

Founded in 1929, the John A. Hartford Foundation is a committed champion of training, research and service system innovations that promote the health and independence of America’s older adults. Through its grant making, the Foundation seeks to strengthen the nation’s capacity to provide effective, affordable care to this rapidly increasing older population by education “aging-prepared” health professionals (physicians, nurses, social workers), and developing innovations that improve and better integrate health and supportive services. John A. Hartford established the Foundation. Mr. Hartford and his brother, George L. Hartford, both former chief executives of the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, left the bulk of their estates to the Foundation upon their deaths in the 1950s. Additional information about the Foundation and its programs is available at www.jhartfound.org.