As a Trustee of Parker Health Group, it gives me great pride to share news about the organization’s recent charitable gift and collaboration with Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Parker will give $18.8 million to the medical school to support research and education focused on senior care. Parker is a member of the Quality Institute’s Leadership Council, and the medical school is one of our founding members. To see the collaboration between these two committed Quality Institute members inspires us all to work even harder to improve health care throughout the life span.
The gift will create the Parker Health Group Division of Geriatrics in the medical school’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. The goal will be to strengthen geriatric training for physicians, in partnership with nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, and key caregivers. The focus will be on team-based, patient-centered care. This next generation of geriatricians will have the opportunity to work closely with Parker and obtain direct experience in Parker’s high quality skilled nursing, assisted living, and adult day programs.
The innovative collaboration includes research into the best practices in high quality, age-friendly care. The need for this care will only continue to grow. By 2050, the number of adults over age 80 will have doubled. These individuals have specific and often challenging health needs. Clinicians must assess cognitive abilities; dosages and combinations of medications; and mobility needs to sustain independence for as long as possible. The medical complexities of aging require an understanding of how multiple conditions and treatments interact. Equally important, geriatricians must address the overall priorities of older adults and ask what matters most to them. High quality care is needed in every setting — from home or hospital or skilled nursing facility.
This collaboration, I believe, will advance our understanding of how best to care for our growing number of elders and super elders, people who still have much to give to their communities and loved ones. Roberto Muñiz, a Rutgers alumnus who has been president and CEO of Parker for nearly 25 years, said the collaboration can “make monumental strides in the field of geriatrics that will provide generations of seniors in New Jersey and beyond with enhanced support.” The Quality Institute welcomes this collaboration, and we know our members will as well.