Marquette nursing professor receives $5 million HRSA grant to enhance workforce supporting geriatric population

June 24, 2024

Dr. Stacy BarnesMILWAUKEE — Dr. Stacy Barnes, associate professor of practice and director of the Wisconsin Geriatric Education Center in Marquette University’s College of Nursing, has received a $5 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to educate and train the health workforce, address care gaps, and improve health outcomes for older adults. Approximately $1.7 million of this award will be dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

The project, “Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program,” will be led by Marquette’s College of Nursing in partnership with the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the Medical College of Wisconsin, Advocate Aurora Health and the Alzheimer’s Association Wisconsin Chapter. Dozens of additional community partners across the state, such as the Milwaukee County Fall Prevention Coalition, the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative, and the Area Health Education Centers, will also be involved.

“The goal of our consortium and this award is to optimize health outcomes for older adults living in Wisconsin. We will unite our organizations and geriatric efforts to educate a diverse health workforce about age-friendly and dementia-friendly care practices, so older adults receive appropriate health care at every encounter, in every care setting,” Barnes said. We will work to attract, retain, and educate students from underrepresented groups and encourage them to work in underserved and rural communities after graduation. Several projects are specifically targeted at building a geriatric nursing workforce in Wisconsin. We will also work to maximize engagement from patients and their families to address gaps in care and to help health care teams better understand what matters most to them.”

“This is a unique collaborative grant that pulls together teams from competing health systems, institutions and organizations across Wisconsin to expand interdisciplinary geriatrics education,” Barnes added. “It’s a massive undertaking, but geriatric workforce development is critically needed in Wisconsin and no single institution or system can do it alone.”

Project teams will recruit trainees from all health disciplines, including the health care workforce, direct care workforce and supportive care workforce. A concerted effort will be made to reach participants from under-represented groups that face social determinants of education. This award will support these students in overcoming non-academic barriers which may limit access to and success in geriatric education. These obstacles will be addressed through financial aid, provision of easily accessible online materials and programs, and inclusion of self-care topics. There will be special emphasis on educating and building a health workforce to serve rural and underserved communities which currently experience disparities related to health care access and health outcomes.

“This HRSA award is a tremendous recognition of Dr. Barnes’ leadership and ongoing work to support geriatric care and wellness in Wisconsin,” said Dr. Jill Guttormson, dean of the College of Nursing. “The College of Nursing is proud to build upon a 38-year history of reciprocal partnerships and award winning, innovative educational projects. Marquette has led the Wisconsin Geriatric Education Center since its inception in 1986 and it is enthusiastic about continuing its work with this larger consortium.”

The Health Resources and Services Administration is the primary federal agency for improving health care to people who are geographically isolated or economically or medically vulnerable. This includes programs that support health infrastructure, including training of health professionals, distributing them to areas where they are needed most, providing financial support to trainees and advancing telehealth.

About Marquette University

Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university located near the heart of downtown Milwaukee that offers a comprehensive range of majors in 11 nationally and internationally recognized colleges and schools. Through the formation of hearts and minds, Marquette prepares our 11,100 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional students to lead, excel and serve as agents of positive change. And, we deliver results. Ranked in the top 20% of national universities, Marquette is recognized for its undergraduate teaching, innovation and career preparation as the sixth-best university in the country for job placement. Our focus on student success and immersive, personalized learning experiences encourages students to think critically and engage with the world around them. When students graduate with a Marquette degree, they are truly prepared and called to Be The Difference.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or