About The Gero-Ed Center


Young & Older Woman

The mission of the Council on Social Work Education Gero-Ed Center (National Center for Gerontological Social Work Education), funded since 2004 by the John A. Hartford Foundation, is to promote gerontological competencies in baccalaureate and master’s level social work programs nationwide to prepare students to enhance the health and well-being of older adults and their families.


By 2020, one in six Americans are projected to be age 65 and older, with the most dramatic growth among those over age 85, elders of color, and women. These demographic changes, profoundly shaping every aspect of our society, are the impetus for the Hartford Foundation’s Geriatric Social Work Initiative (GSWI). Closely related is the growing demand for social workers with gerontological competencies, as documented in numerous workforce studies.

Social workers interact with older adults and their families in nearly all practice settings—child welfare, health and mental health, schools, domestic violence, and substance use to name a few—but are typically not formally prepared to do so. Recognizing this, the Gero-Ed Center promotes gerontological competencies at the generalist level for all social work students, as well as specialized gerontological practice behaviors at the advanced level.


Principal Investigators

The Center's mission, vision, and leadership are provided by the co-Principal Investigators:

Dr. Nancy Hooyman (Biography)
Hooyman Endowed Professor in Gerontology
School of Social Work
University of Washington

Dr. Darla Spence Coffey (Biography)
President and Chief Executive Officer
Council on Social Work Education

National Advisory Board

In addition to the Center's co-Principal Investigators, an eleven-member National Advisory Board provides support and overall direction. Board members were selected both for their gerontological and curricular change expertise, and for their leadership in major social work professional organizations:

Katharine Briar-Lawson
Dean and Professor
School of Social Welfare
University at Albany

Karen Bullock
Professor and Head
Department of Social Work
North Carolina State University

JoAnn Damron-Rodriguez
Professor, Department of Social Welfare
University of California, Los Angeles

Debra Fromm Faria
Visiting Associate Professor
Director of Field Education
Social Work Department
College of Brockport, SUNY

Lorn Gingrich
National Social Work Program Manager
VA Care Management and Social Work Service

Robyn Golden
Instructor and Director of Older Adult Programs

Department of Preventative Medicine
Rush University Medical Center

Linda Harootyan
Deputy Executive Director
Senior Director, Professional Affairs, Advocacy, and Grant Development
The Gerontological Society of America

Marilynn Knall
Associate Director, Academic and Staff Support
School of Social Work
Wayne State University

Sandy Markwood
Chief Executive Officer


Cheryl Waites
Dean and Professor
School of Social Work
Wayne State University

Joan Levy Zlotnik
Director, Social Work Policy Institute
NASW Foundation