As another school year begins, Senior Community Centers welcomes a new group of students and faculty from San Diego State University (SDSU) who will participate in the Collaboration for Healthy Aging and Workforce Development (CHAWD). This collaboration between Senior Community Centers and the San Diego State University College of Health and Human Services, made possible by the Gary and Mary West Foundation, enters its second year. The major goal of CHAWD is to strengthen healthcare services offered to seniors through the advancement of empirical knowledge of aging issues and the enhancement of higher education and workforce development in geriatric healthcare and allied fields. The seniors benefit via free health and social services provided by SDSU students and faculty, while the students and faculty benefit via field experience and research opportunities; furthermore, seniors of the (near and distant) future will benefit from improved services resulting from the research conducted and education offered through CHAWD.
Nine students from the SDSU School of Social Work began their internships through this collaboration, and more students from the other Health and Human Services departments begin their work here at the end of September. In all, at least 100 students will participate in CHAWD in some capacity during the 2011-2012 school year. These students come from the departments of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences; Nursing; Public Health; Social Work; and Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. Projects include various research projects in conjunction with SDSU faculty and clinical work, such as health checkups, hearing screenings, and nutrition education for seniors.
Sixteen of these students will gain additional education and experience through the West Scholars Program, a project of CHAWD. In addition, several faculty members from departments within SDSU College of Health and Human Services will continue or begin research projects at Senior Community Centers this year, under the direction of CHAWD, with the goal of disseminating at a national level all aspects of the Senior Community Centers’ service model.