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New HRSA Grant at the School of Nursing Provides Support to Graduate Nursing Students with Interest in Gerontology


Date: March 5, 2013
Media Contact: Ashley Wiggin,, 206-221-2456

With a rise in the average age of our population, training a workforce knowledgeable in the care of older adults is critically important. The UW School of Nursing (SoN) is taking an active role in preparing students and professionals to provide that care. A new grant supports Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP) students interested in working with our aging population.

The grant is currently supporting three full-time Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students and one part-time Master of Nursing (MN) student as they prepare to become nurse practitioners. All of the trainees plan to pursue careers in providing primary care to older adults.

“The Comprehensive Geriatric Education Program (CGEP) traineeships allow the UW SoN to provide traineeships to students in the ANP program and foster full time study, more rapid program completion, and enrollment of disadvantaged students,” said Eleanor Bond, Professor in the Dept. of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems and Principal Investigator on the grant. “The program equips faculty, providers, and students with knowledge of evidence-based best practices to improve care delivery to complex and vulnerable geriatric patients.”

The three-year grant kicked-off in July 2012, with the four scholars appointed in Autumn 2012. In addition to providing support to these trainees, the grant will also develop gerontology curriculum, already under development. The grant will create an online inventory for gerontology resources- many online gerontology resources exist, and the grant will compile and provide access all in one place. Bond noted that this will become a valuable resource for health care providers and educators.

CGEP scholarsCGEP scholarsMeet the Scholars

The grant is providing aid to these students for the current academic year, giving each full time scholar $30,000 to support his or her education; the part-time scholar receives $15,000. The four ANP students, Winnie Deeckakawan, Josh Epworth, Desiree Wood and Rachel Ostrander, are thankful for the support this program is providing to them and describe its impact on their education.

Winnie Deechakawan is a 2010 graduate of our PhD program in Nursing Science and is interested in primary care and home health palliative care for older adults. She notes the traineeship support is instrumental to her completing of the program on time and entering practice.

“This traineeship support allows me to focus more acutely on my scholarly goals rather than financial pursuits,” said Deechakawan. “I am committed and have a plan to finish the ANP-DNP program in 2 years.”

Josh Epworth’s interests are in clinical care, teaching, research, care of older adults with cancer and issues related to transitions to palliative care. “The Comprehensive Geriatric Education Program traineeship allows me more time to devote to classes and studies while simultaneously offering me the opportunity to better balance my work load at the hospital,” said Epworth, currently working as a hematology/oncology nurse at UWMC, specializing in the treatment of patients with leukemia, lymphoma, and stem cell transplants. “This traineeship is crucial in helping me expedite the education process, expand my knowledge, and allows me more time in the field to practice, do research and teach.”

Desiree Wood is currently working at the UWMC in the ICU as a staff nurse and charge nurse. Desiree is interested in palliative care for older adults. She is also a staff co- lead for the Patient and Family Council and volunteer supervisor for over 50 volunteers in the ICU.

Part-time MN student, Rachel Ostrander, is interested in cardiology, home health, and supporting older adults living in the community. She currently works in an outpatient cardiology clinic and is a new mom. She has been a practicing nurse for over 10 years, working primarily in cardiac care and hospice, and is an avid marathon runner.

For more information about the program and about applying for funding for the 2013-2014 academic year, visit the CGEP traineeship website. Future applicants must be matriculated in the Adult Nurse Practitioner program in the School of Nursing, with preference given to newly enrolling students.

This project is supported by funds from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Health Resources and Services Administration, the Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr), Division of Public Health and Interdisciplinary Education (DPHIE), under grant number D62HP24194 Comprehensive Geriatric Education Program for $808,663.00. The information or content, and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as an endorsement of or the official position or policy of the U.S. Government, DHHS, HRSA, BHPr or the DPHIE.


The University of Washington School of Nursing is consistently a top-rated nursing school, according to U.S. News & World Report. Ranked No. 2 in research funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2011, the UW School of Nursing is a national and international leader in improving the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities. The school addresses society’s most pressing challenges in health care through innovative teaching, award winning research and community service. For more information, visit