Huntsville, Ala. ---- Social work educators at Alabama A&M University will offer a new certificate program beginning spring term 2012 to address important issues related to the vicinity’s increasingly older population.
According to Dr. Edith Fraser, who heads the Department of Social Work, Psychology and Counseling, the new gerontology certificate program will not only provide continuing education to social work and related professionals, but it will
demonstrate AAMU social workers’ longstanding commitment to the changing needs of the helping professions.
The gerontology certificate program will provide six distinct three-hour sessions over the course of three months, starting February 10, the date of the first two sessions. Additional two-a-day sessions will be offered March 23 and April 23. The course is especially designed for social workers, therapists, nurses, mental health counselors, allied health professionals, and others interested in the issues related to aging, notes Donna Gibson, an AAMU social worker and alumna charged with coordinating the certificate program with the University’s Office of Distance Education and Extended Studies.
Fraser said the offerings “dovetail well with the skill set of AAMU faculty,” a fifth of whom have additional training in the specialty of geriatrics. Prior to forming the certificate program, Fraser says AAMU social workers conducted research into what other social work programs are offering and the required credentials, held a community meeting, and developed a needs assessment.
The inevitability of a large percentage of older citizens is a fact that “our community needs to be prepared for,” admits Fraser. And, program topics should prove useful for many, if not all, of more than 40 agencies in the Tennessee Valley area, adds Gibson.
The six topics of the program include an introduction to gerontology, and the biology of health and aging (February 10); the social aspects of aging and the psychology of aging (March 23); and death, dying and bereavement, and estate planning/legal aspects (April 23). Each session is $125. For additional information, contact Donna Gibson at (256) 372-5475 or Kris Reed at (256) 372-5753.
Caption: (l-r) Dr. Edith Fraser and Donna Gibson. (Photo by Jerome Saintjones)