CSUN Professor Receives UniHealth Grant
(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., Oct. 24, 2003) - Cal State Northridge health science professor Debra Sheets has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the UniHealth Foundation's "David R. Carpenter Initiative: Advancing Healthy Aging" to develop a web-based dementia care training program.
The one-year award, entitled "Training for Dignity: Basic Dementia Care Training Program," will allow the university's Gerontology Program in conjunction with the Alzheimer's Association, to conduct association-developed dementia training curriculum through the Internet.
"The UniHealth grant provides the opportunity to make dementia care training more widely available to CSUN students and professionals in our community," Sheets said. "Research has shown that training and education are needed to improve the care provided to older adults with dementia."
The training and certification process, currently offered twice a year through formal classroom instruction, will become self-paced, affordable and convenient once formatted for the Internet.
"The program will be available anywhere at any time," Sheets said.
The grant also will provide an opportunity to research the effectiveness of professional online dementia care training, she added.
A College of Health and Human Development professor and coordinator of the university's Interdisciplinary Gerontology Program, Sheets has focused on aging with physical disability, assistive technology and intergenerational service learning.
Sheets worked 20 years as a registered nurse specializing in trauma and critical care and received a Ph.D. in gerontology and public policy from the University of Southern California.
She is a fellow in the Gerontological Society of America, was selected as the 2002 - 2003 Fellow for Community-Campus Partnerships for Health and currently serves on the board of the American Society on Aging, California Council on Gerontology, Geriatrics Education Center at UCLA and the Alzheimer's Association.
Sheets was also awarded the 2003 Visionary Service-Learning Award from CSUN.
UniHealth Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic organization whose mission is to support and facilitate activities that significantly improve the health and well being of individuals and communities within its service area.
The "David R. Carpenter Initiative: Advancing Healthy Aging" was created to honor the UniHealth Foundation's founding chairman, David R. Carpenter. Carpenter supported efforts that improved the experience of aging. Advancing Healthy Aging initiative aims to cast the process of aging in a positive light and encourages long-term improvements in the health status of older adults.