AzAHEC Grant to Improve Training, Education and Coordination among Cochise County Elderly Care Providers

University of Arizona geriatrician and UA Center on Aging member Monica R. Vandivort, MD (on left at right), has won a $50,000 start-up grant from the Arizona Area Health Education Centers (AzAHEC) for a clinical research initiative entitled, “A Community Paramedicine-Primary Care Partnership in Rural Cochise County Pilot Project to Improve Health Outcomes of Seriously Ill Elders.”

The effort is multidisciplinary and involves collaboration between multiple health care organizations in Sierra Vista, Ariz., including the Banner – University Medical Group Physician Offices, Banner University House Calls Program, Canyon Vista Medical Center and the Sierra Vista Fire Department’s Community Paramedicine C.A.R.E. Program.

"This project is truly an academic-community partnership,” Dr. Vandivort said. “It crosses health system lines, which is a great benefit to our mutual patients. Our Banner – University Medicine clinic in Sierra Vista cares for both well and frail older adults on-site and in their homes in Cochise County. We have a great desire to see the health care system be more user-friendly to the older persons who utilize it most. This grant award is timely and allows three entities to ally together to impact care of this underserved population in rural Arizona.”

Additional components of the project include interprofessional education for emergency medicine service providers and medical assistants in area primary care offices about chronic health issues, community resources and strategies to enhance integration of these care entities who all touch this same group of highly complex elderly patients.

The grant is for 18 months with the possibility of additional future funding.

Suzanne David and Lisa O'NeillAlong with Suzanne David, assistant director and continuing education program coordinator at the Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center in Nogales, Ariz., the Center on Aging is providing educational expertise and technical support for these educational initiatives led by Lisa ONeil MPH, DBH, the center’s geriatric education coordinator and program manager for its Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program.

Dr. Vandivort is a UA assistant professor in the Division of Geriatrics, General Internal Medicine and Palliative Medicine, a faculty member in the UA Center on Aging’s Reynolds Program in Applied Geriatrics and medical director for Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and South’s Home Care Program.

Dr. Vandivort joined the UA faculty in 2014. Prior to that, she was with Mountainside Senior Health Center in Hereford, Ariz.; Family Health Center in Sierra Vista, Ariz.; Sisters of Mercy-St. John’s Senior Health Clinic in Springfield, Mo.; and the University of Nebraska Medical Center and VA Medical Center in Omaha, Neb., where she was an assistant professor.

After completing her undergraduate studies in biology and chemistry at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., she earned her medical degree from the University of Kansas, where she also did the first two years of her residency in internal medicine. She completed her residency training as well as a fellowship in geriatric medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis.

Dr. Vandivort is board-certified in internal medicine, geriatric medicine, hospice and palliative medicine, and is a certified medical director in long term care under the American Medical Directors Certification Program. She is a member of the Arizona and American Geriatrics Society, American Academy of Home Care Medicine and the American Medical Directors Association.

About Arizona AHEC
The Arizona Area Health Education Centers focuses on developing integrated, sustainable statewide health professions workforce education programs with emphasis on primary care and increasing access in Arizona's rural and underserved communities by improving the supply, quality, diversity and distribution of the health professions workforce. This focus is accomplished in collaboration with the five statewide Arizona AHEC regional centers, UA College of Medicine – Tucson, UA College of Medicine – Phoenix, UA College of Nursing, UA College of Pharmacy, UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and other statewide organizations. Learn more at 

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Release Date: 
05/21/2017 - 9:15am