UNR Med’s Sanford Center for Aging launches ICECAP Nevada to build capacity in geriatrics care

$3.2 million grant to improve patient outcomes among Nevada’s elders

ICECAP Nevada teammates from the UNR Med Sanford Center for Aging and Northern Nevada Medical Center.

ICECAP Nevada teammates from the UNR Med Sanford Center for Aging and Northern Nevada Medical Center are partnering to improve the care of Nevada's growing aging population. From left to right: Jennifer Christensen, lead social worker, Senior Bridges, Northern Nevada Medical Center (NNMC); Tiffany Coury, chief operating officer, NNMC; Nina Tumosa, Ph.D., program officer, U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration; Peter Reed, Ph.D., director, Sanford Center for Aging, UNR Med; Leah Leonard-Steckline, Ph.D., director, Behavioral Health, NNMC; and Crystal Lopez, operations administrator, Northern Nevada Medical Group. Photo courtesy of NNMC. 

By 2025, the U.S. is expected to be short about 27,000 geriatricians to care for its 74 million baby boomers, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Local efforts to support Nevada's aging population received a boost thanks to recent federal funding. The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) Sanford Center for Aging received a five-year, $3.2 million federal grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration's Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program, to provide primary care professionals training and other resources to assist with addressing the complex needs of older Nevadans.  

Through funding from the grant, the Sanford Center for Aging is launching a new program, known as ICECAP Nevada, short for Improving Care of Elders through Community and Academic Partnerships, to benefit Nevada's growing aging population.  

"ICECAP Nevada is especially important in our state," said Peter Reed, Ph.D., director of the Sanford Center. "Around 14% of Nevada's population is over 65, a number that is expected to increase to almost 20% over the next 20 years."  

According to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates from 2016 to 2017, Nevada is the fourth fastest growing state for people aged 65 and older. The other fastest growing states for 65+ are South Carolina, Hawaii and Delaware.   

Nevada's 65+ age population is projected to number 485,851 by 2022, according to data from UNR Med's Office of Statewide Initiatives (OSI). Elders are typically experiencing multiple chronic illnesses being treated with numerous medications. ICECAP will help address these needs by building comprehensive approaches to care and support for the aging population, and we hope it will help shape the future of health care in Nevada.  

"What's unique about this grant is that it highlights interprofessional care and the different perspectives required to fully meet the complex care needs of elders," said Reed. "We're working with clinical and community providers, from family caregivers to case managers, PAs, advance practice nurses, physicians, social workers, pharmacists, psychologists and long-term care providers."  

Through ICECAP, multiple clinical and community partners including Northern Nevada Medical Center, NV Aging and Disability Services Division, NV Department of Veteran Services and Dementia Friendly Nevada will create an Interprofessional Geriatrics Education Network, offering training and resources for primary care teams and family caregivers.  

With improved interprofessional training, patient outcomes among elder Nevadans will improve.  

"To better address the aging population's unique needs, we are working to improve processes that screen for cognitive impairment, depression and falls, and trying to reduce high-risk medications," said Reed. "Considering each of these elements leads to a comprehensive approach to elder care and improves quality of life."  

"As the primary care partner for ICECAP Nevada, Northern Nevada Medical Center and Group is committed to patient excellence," said Alan Olive, chief executive officer of Northern Nevada Health System. "Through partnering with UNR Med and other community organizations, we will leverage and expand our expertise in geriatric care while improving patient outcomes for one of the region's most vulnerable populations."  

The UNR Med Sanford Center for Aging was founded to enhance the quality of life and well-being among elders through education, translational research and community outreach. A variety of programs, services, educational coursework and clinical services, are available for elders in the community, all designed to improve quality of life.  

"Our students have tremendous opportunities at UNR Med for world-class education in the field of aging and aging studies," said UNR Med's Dean Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D. "This dedicated funding is evidence that UNR Med is at the forefront of innovative solutions for developing training and resources for a wide range of health-care professionals, and improving health care across all populations."  

For more information, contact the Sanford Center for Aging at (775) 784-4774; email sanford@unr.org, or visit med.unr.edu/aging.

Media Contacts

Julie Ardito, APR
Senior Director, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 784-6006

Tessa Bowen, MPA
Communications Manager, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 682-9254

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Nevada's first public medical school, is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision for a healthy Nevada. Established in 1969, UNR Med is improving the health and well-being of all Nevadans and their communities through excellence in student education, postgraduate training and clinical care, research with local, national and global impact and a culture of diversity and inclusion.

Released: Tuesday September 17, 2019 @ 6:00 AM