About us

Our History

The Geriatric Education Center (GEC) program was a national initiative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, focused on improving the accessibility and quality of primary healthcare for the geriatric population.  Funding was authorized by Title VII of the Public Health Services Act and grants were awarded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Bureau of Health Professions.

The Medical College of Wisconsin, under the leadership of Dr. Frederick Tavill, submitted the original grant proposal to HRSA in 1984 but it was not awarded funding.  Based on recommendations from reviewers, Dr. Tavill worked with Marquette University's School of Dentistry and subsequently submitted the successful application that officially launched the Midwest Geriatric Education Center in 1986.  In later years, the consortium narrowed its geographic scope and changed its name to the Wisconsin Geriatric Education Center (WGEC) in response to the federal objective of having one GEC in each state.

For more than thirty years, the WGEC has been administratively housed at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has operated as a formal consortium of academic and healthcare organizations.  The WGEC consortium mix has changed over the years, but three of the founding organizations remain active today.

Working together and in partnership with other organizations, the WGEC consortium has developed hundreds of educational products and programs, disseminated to over 100,000 healthcare professionals.  It has developed new geriatric curriculum and integrated it into nine different universities in Wisconsin - including the state's two medical schools and its only dental school.

A New Home

In 2010, the WGEC was awarded a new five year grant from HRSA to continue training health professions students, faculty, and practitioners in Wisconsin. An administrative decision was also made to move the WGEC to a new academic home within Marquette University. The decision to switch from the School of Dentistry to the College of Nursing was driven by a number of opportunities and benefits, including: collaboration with a greater number of faculty interested in geriatrics/gerontology; a more centralized location on campus, embedded within an academic building; sharing of administrative resources and decreased overhead costs; as well as increased leadership support for both geriatrics and the WGEC. This fortuitous move helped the WGEC secure another 3-year federal award in 2015, which emphasized nursing and primary care. Today the WGEC continues to thrive, reaching new audiences (e.g., first responders) and forging new community-based partnerships in the Greater Milwaukee area.


       Copyright 2018  Marquette University's College of Nursing

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