School ofNursing

Comprehensive Gerontologic Education Partnership

CGEP’s Beginnings:

CGEP began as an original, multi-faceted project designed to strengthen the baccalaureate and higher degree infrastructure for producing more qualified nurses committed to the care of the older adult. 

CGEP has used comprehensive community partnerships to implement multi-layered strategies to advance the quality of geriatric care offered in the Puget Sound region.  In three years, CGEP has created a successful model capable of inspiring broad-based community partnerships and effective replication across the nation.

CGEP’s Partners:


  • Aging and Disability Services Administration, DSHS
  • Aging & Long Term Care, Pierce County Human Services
  • Alzheimer’s Association (Western & Central Washington Chapter)
  • Bruce W. Gilpin Memorial Fund
  • Cornelsen Family Foundation
  • Dimmer Family Foundation (Lead Agency)
  • Family Education and Support Services
  • Franciscan Health System
  • Franke Tobey Jones
  • Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation
  • Harrison Medical Center
  • MultiCare Health System
  • Northwest Parish Nurse Ministries
  • Pacific Lutheran University School of Nursing (Implementing Agency)
  • Relatives Raising Children Program (HopeSparks)
  • Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community
  • Washington Adult Day Services Association
  • Washington Health Care Association

CGEP’s Achievements:

Since 2008, with the support and guidance of its Lead Agency, the Dimmer Family Foundation, CGEP has succeeded at improving gerontological nursing education and contributing to the quality of care provided to older adults in the community. 

At the Pacific Lutheran University (PLU), tenure-track faculty with expertise in gerontological nursing have been added; curriculum changes have been implemented based on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN’s) gerontological competencies; and a new Gero-Scholar Program has been launched to provide financial support and specialized learning for up to 10 nursing students per year who are pursuing a career dedicated to the care of older adults. 

Through the generous contributions of the Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation, the Gero-Scholar Program is now endowed and will continue at PLU in perpetuity.

In the community, CGEP has created and provided high quality gerontological continuing education offerings that have reached interdisciplinary professionals across a four county region (Pierce, Thurston, Kitsap, and South King).  Gerontological continuing education offerings are slated to continue on an ongoing basis in order to assist regional nurses with critical issues such as Chronic Disease Management, Dementia Care, and Falls Prevention and Management.

Finally, in order to contribute to the quality of care for older adults in the region and enhance nursing students’ gerontological interest and clinical expertise, CGEP created two original, community outreach programs, both of which are successful and continuing on an ongoing basis:

  • The Kinship Caregiver Program (KCP):  Washington State’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey for 2007 indicated that kinship caregivers are a high-risk population in terms of health status:  21% had no health care coverage; 28.4% reported having a disability; 24.5% reported at-risk blood pressures; 29.4% reported at-risk cholesterol levels; 76.6% were overweight or obese; and 28.8% smoked cigarettes.  In light of the data, Aging and Disability Services Administration, HopeSparks, and PLU School of Nursing launched the KCP in 2009, which includes 10-20 Community Health students providing home visits, health assessment and teaching, and care coordination to local kinship caregivers each semester.  Due to its success, the KCP expanded to Thurston County in 2011, added Family Education and Support Services as a new CGEP partner; and has inspired the creation of similar partnerships and initiatives elsewhere in the state.      


CGEP’s Future Direction:

While CGEP’s official grant period through the Robert Wood Johnson and Northwest Health Foundations ended in August 2011, CGEP has only seen its beginnings.  The partnership is committed to continuing its important work and, as a result of identifying a critical need in the community, has expanded its focus to include older adults and people with chronic illness.

Ongoing, generous contributions from the Dimmer Family Foundation, the Gary E. Milgard Foundation, and Franke Tobey Jones—along with a new contribution from the Cornelsen Family Foundation that is funding a new, state-of-the art mobile health unit—are sustaining the partnership which, ultimately, is aiming for full endowment.

Ahead, CGEP looks forward to expanded partnerships and evolving work to enhance the health and well-being of its community while developing nurses who can lead the way into the future.