University of Guam awarded $3.75 million grant to improve geriatric and dementia care in region

University of Guam awarded $3.75 million grant to improve geriatric and dementia care in region

University of Guam awarded $3.75 million grant to improve geriatric and dementia care in region


Group Photo

(From left) Anita B. Enriquez, senior vice president of student and academic affairs; Katherine Taijeron, extension associate, both with University of Guam; Benita Maglona, chief financial officer; Jean Hongyee, Skilled Nursing Unit nursing supervisor; William Kando, chief planner, all three with Guam Memorial Hospital Authority; Diana Calvo, executive director, Catholic Social Service; Lillian Perez-Posadas, CEO, GMHA; Veronica B. Alave, co-project director and nursing instructor; Margaret Hattori-Uchima, co-project director and dean of the School of Health; Thomas W. Krise, president; Danilo C. Bilong, evaluator; Kathryn M. Wood, director of Guam/Micronesia Area Health Education Center and associate professor, all four with UOG; Kevin Hitosis, nurse practioner, Veterans Affairs Clinic; and Jonathan T.H. Nguyen, program coordinator, UOG. 

The University of Guam has received a $3.75 million grant to fill gaps in care for the elderly in Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands. The Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program grant, awarded by the Health Resources & Services Administration, will fund health care workforce development, family and caregiver training, and enhancement of the UOG nursing assistant program specifically related to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

“The vision of the grant is to transform the current health systems and practices serving our elderly resulting in improved quality of life,” said UOG School of Health Dean Margaret Hattori-Uchima, co-project director of the grant along with Veronica B. Alave, a nursing instructor at the university.

The Guam State Office on Aging projects a 15% increase in Guam’s elderly population from 2015 to 2020, and separate data from the World Health Organization has identified sensory organ diseases and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and related dementias among the major causes of disease burden in the Western Pacific region. These circumstances contribute to the crisis facing the region given critical shortages of health care workers, including nursing assistants, to care for the elderly, Hattori-Uchima said.

(From left) Senior Vice President Anita Enriquez; Dean Margaret Hattori-Uchima; Nursing Instructor Veronica Alave at a press conference on Aug. 15.
“This is one of many examples of how the University of Guam is seeking and executing grants that benefit the island and region as a whole,” said UOG President Thomas W. Krise. “This is why local funding for UOG is so important — not just for academics, but also for our research and service missions as well.”

The grant will be carried out until June 2024, focusing on developing learning resources and implementing training on care for those with Alzheimer’s and related dementias for health care workers, caregiving family members, and students.

Community partners that will receive training include Catholic Social Service, the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority Skilled Nursing Unit, National Family Caregiver Support Program, the Guam Community College Allied Health Program, and the UOG nursing assistant program. Other community partners in the grant are the Guam/Micronesia Area Health Education Center, the State Office on Aging under the Guam Department of Public Health & Social Services Division of Senior Citizens, and the Mayors Council of Guam.

The Health Resources & Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, provides health care to people who are geographically isolated or economically or medically vulnerable.