Center on Aging

  • Interdisciplinary Program for Graduate Students in Aging (IPGSA)


    Health professionals specializing in geriatrics represent a unique but scarce resource, playing a critical role to shape the care of older adults. An interdisciplinary, didactic, and experiential learning program has the potential to maximize training opportunities for professionals planning to care for older adults. This training is critical given the estimates of the older adult population in the future. In 2008, an estimated 39 million people in the United States were 65 or older — just over 13 percent of the population. By 2030, when all surviving baby boomers will be over 65, there will be a projected 72 million older adults, about 20 percent of the population.

    The Center on Aging, recognizing this concern, created the University of Iowa Interdisciplinary Program for Graduate Students in Aging (IPGSA) to fill the void of geriatric education for graduate and/or professional students and to increase the number of students interested in a career working with older adults.

    IPGSA is a two-semester sequence of weekly learning opportunities designed to improve graduate and/or professional students’ understanding of:

    • the challenges and opportunities presented by the aging population,
    •  interdisciplinary approaches in providing care to older adults,
    •  professional and scientific literature striving to educate and improve the lives of older adults, and
    •  experiential learning opportunities by visiting area agencies, organizations, and institutions in Johnson County that focus on care of older adults in the following settings: institutional care, community care, and community service settings.

    This program is led by faculty from five different colleges. The program represents a unique inter-professional training program for the university. Learning experiences are multi-modal and include analysis and synthesis of peer-reviewed journal articles, case-based on-line and face-to-face discussions, community-based site observations and evaluation, a final group project, and attendance at national conferences (American Society in Aging and/or the Gerontological Society of America). The conferences feature the latest in research and practice. 

    inter grad fellowship
    Sara Dempsey, former Interdisciplinary
    Graduate Fellowship in Aging participant,
    exhibiting poster,  Interdisciplinary Graduate
    Fellowship in
     Aging: An Academic Experience
    to Prepare
     Students in Their Professions to
    Care for
     Older Adults, at the Aging in America,
    2012  annual conference of the American
    Society  on Aging.


    - Admission to and good standing in an UI graduate college or professional program

    - Intent to specialize in aging, gerontology, or geriatrics through participation in one of the following programs:

    • Medical or Pharmacy Degree candidate
    • MSN or PhD in Adult-Gerontological Nursing
    • Certificate in Aging Studies
    • Master in Public Health or Master in Health Administration with an Aging Focus
    • MSW or PhD in Social Work, or a Gerontolo gy or End-of-Life Care Specialization, other majors will also be considered

    - A 3.0 grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) for undergraduate and previous graduate work

    - Demonstration of prior personal or professional interest in aging including relevant work, community service, and/or leadership experience.