Education and Training

An aging population brings rewarding opportunities for you to make an impact on society. With a contemporary graduate school and six professional schools offering programs, courses, and clinical training opportunities in the field of aging, UMB can prepare you with the knowledge and skills to effectively work with and on behalf of older adults and their families and make a difference in an aging society.

UMB Graduate School

Whether you want to make an impact directly by working with older adults and their families or indirectly through research, changing policy, or developing innovative technology to tackle the complex health and social challenges associated with growing older, a graduate degree from UMB is a great place to start. Programs such as our graduate certificate in Aging & Applied Thanatology, our Master’s in Health and Social Innovation, and our PhD in Gerontology are designed to help you meet your career goals. Visit our website for a complete list of academic programs.

The Graduate School is also home to the Geriatrics & Gerontology Education and Research (GGEAR) program. Educational programs developed by GGEAR and its partners include online training modules through Geri-ED and interprofessional training opportunities such as the Geriatric Assessment Interdisciplinary Team (GAIT) program, in which students learn and work collaboratively in interprofessional settings.  

Geri-ED

Geri-Ed is a platform for free web-based educational material and training modules related to geriatrics and gerontology.

GAIT

The GAIT program brings together students from all University System of Maryland (USM) campuses for didactic and clinical sessions at geriatric sites such as medical & rehabilitative hospitals, independent living & long-term care communities, and hospice & palliative care settings. A minimum of 10 GAIT rotations are offered each academic year. 

For more information about the educational and co-curricular opportunities in geriatrics and gerontology offered through GGEAR, visit the program website or contact the program director.

Health Professions

As we move closer to 2030, a report from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA 2019) finds that more than one million new health professionals knowledgeable in geriatrics and gerontology are needed to keep pace with the increasing number of older adults and preserve today’s provider-to-population ratio. Will you be one of them?  

Dentistry & Dental Hygiene

Oral health is closely associated with both physical and mental well-being in later life. Unfortunately, more than 60% of US states have a substantial shortage of dental practitioners willing to treat older adults (Raphael, 2017). Fortunately, increasing your exposure to geriatric care during your oral health care education can increase both your comfort level and your willingness to provide care to older persons (Wolff, Schenkel, & Allen, 2014).

The University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) seeks to graduate exceptional oral health care professionals, which includes demonstrated competency in Geriatric Dentistry. The program is very structured; second- and third-year students complete a didactic course in geriatrics and gerontology. In their third and fourth year, students spend 1-week blocks of time treating patients in the UMSOD Special Care & Geriatrics Clinic. Clinical students are encouraged to follow and to complete the care of patients in this program. 

Also within the School of Dentistry, the Division of Dental Hygiene Bachelor of Science Degree Program provides 4 hours of didactic lecture on geriatrics in DHYG 323 Patients with Special Needs. Dental Hygiene students apply their knowledge in the clinical care and management of geriatric patients, as well as increase their comfort level in providing geriatric patient care in community service-learning courses, DHYG 413 and DHYG 423, undergraduate dental clinics, and block rotations in the senior year in the UMSOD Special Care & Geriatric Clinic.

Medicine, Public Health, & Physical Therapy

As the U.S. population rapidly ages, our healthcare needs are changing. In addition to expanding the size of workforce to meet the demand, our healthcare workforce needs to be re-tooled so as to manage the complex healthcare needs found in later life. Addressing these needs is also fast-becoming a top priority issue for policymakers at all levels. The University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) prepares students to be physicians, allied health professionals, and policy makers in an aging society. Additionally, the UMSOM Epidemiology of Aging Training program trains pre- and postdoctoral fellows to conduct independent and original research in the epidemiology of aging, with an emphasis on the prevention of late life disability and functional decline.

Geriatric Medicine Fellowship

The Division of Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine, a joint venture between the Department of Medicine and the Baltimore VA Medical Center, integrates education and training within the research and clinical programs offered through the division to enhance the trainees’ experiences. Visit the Geriatric Medicine Fellowship website for more information.

Nursing

In addition to living longer, the US population is also much more diverse than ever before. Our healthcare workforce must be prepared to not just provide health care related to the chronic illnesses and disability found in later life, but to deliver it in a culturally sensitive and appropriate manner. Nurses are leading the way in these efforts. Their participation on interdisciplinary and interprofessional teams is crucial in understanding and addressing the complex issues found in our increasingly older and more diverse population.

The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) offers a variety of programs for  persons new to the field to those seeking to become Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioners.  In addition to these degree programs, UMSON also offers a graduate certificate in Care Coordination designed to prepare you to meet the growing demand for highly skilled nurse case managers and care coordinators found in diverse employment settings, including acute and long term care communities, human service agencies, managed care organizations, and community-based settings.

Pharmacy

Our aging population is having a major effect on the practice of pharmacy. In addition to medication therapy management in older adults, pharmacy practitioners have the opportunity to prevent medication-related problems and to do so in a variety of health care settings. Pharmacists play a vital role in the community and during geriatric care transitions as they help reduce problems associated with adverse drug events, perform medication reconciliation during transitions of care, and facilitate communication between care providers.

The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy (UMSOP) is a leader in pharmacy education, patient care, and scientific discovery. In addition to their academic programs, which range from the Doctor of Pharmacy program to a graduate certificate in Palliative Care, UMSOP also offers s one year post-doctoral residency in geriatric pharmacy and a two year Geriatric Pharmacotherapy Fellowship program. Both programs are offered through the Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging at UMSOP.

Social Service Professions

Through research, policy development, and practice, law and social work professionals are advocates for older adults and their families. With a focus on improving quality of later life and quality of care, they are leaders in their work to strengthen and secure the legal rights, dignity, and autonomy of older persons.  

Law

The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law prepares students for productive leadership and professional roles in law, public service, business, and government.  Among its many programs, the UM Carey School of Law offers the Law & Health Care Program, which includes an elective in Elder Law. This is an important field of study, since population aging has increased the demand for legal advocates knowledgeable in gerontology. These individuals support older persons and their families as they navigate issues likely to arise as a result of growing older. Elder law attorneys can assist with legal matters related to estate planning; asset protection; health care needs planning, including advance directives; and elder abuse recognition, reporting, and prevention. 

Social Work

The U.S. Census Bureau (2019) projects that by 2034 there will be more people age 65 and older than under the age of 18.  As our population ages, the demand for social workers with expertise in gerontology is increasing.  The UM School of Social Work offers a Specialization in Aging. Students in both the Clinical and Macro concentrations can and are encouraged to select option. 

Importance of Gerontological Social Work 

Globally, older adults remain among the most vulnerable to marginalization, poor health, poverty, and income insecurity. At the macro level, social work professionals play an important role in policy development. At the individual level, they provide mental health counseling and can assist older adults experiencing changes in health and functional status and their families identify resources, services, and benefits. 

While changes resulting from loss, disease, and disability have been the predominant focus in gerontological social work, we cannot neglect the potential and ability found in older adulthood. Many older adults continue to live active and productive lives contributing to society and their families in myriad ways.  Remaining true to social work values in which older adults are treated as agents rather than problems, social work professionals who understand aging recognize and promote the capability of older persons to remain productive and less dependent in later life.