Elderly man receives care from female doctor.

Geriatric Scholars Community
This learning community enables flexible, online education for primary care providers and staff, with an emphasis on the unique needs of rural health professionals. Courses and resources are designed to enhance in-demand geriatric skills and allow for training opportunities without the need to travel long distances to receive it. This further serves as the learning hub for participants in the VA Geriatric Scholars Program, a national workforce initiative of the Veterans Health Administration to improve the care of older Veterans.

For more information about the website: Eugenia Dorisca, 718-584-9000, ext. 3836, eugenia.dorisca@va.gov

Doctors sitting looking at a computer screen.

VA Geriatric Scholars Program

The United States healthcare workforce has insufficient training in geriatrics across the healthcare professions, too few geriatricians, and poor incentives to recruit and retain professionals who have developed competency skills in geriatrics.  The VA Geriatric Scholars Program addresses these problems with a longitudinal, multi-modal, blended format curriculum to train VHA clinicians in skills and competencies to meet the needs of aging Veterans and improve quality of VHA healthcare delivery.  Evaluation of the Geriatric Scholars Program indicates that participation has directly affected patient care by systematically implementing quality improvements and meeting self-assessed gaps in clinical practice and medical knowledge.  Since its inception as a pilot project funded with an IDEA Award, the Geriatric Scholars Program has expanded each year, offering new modalities to expand the training opportunities for VHA clinicians and enrolling new clinicians.

VHA ORH logo

The VHA’s Office of Rural Health envisions that America’s Veterans will thrive in rural communities.  To foster this vision, ORH works to improve the health and well-being of rural Veterans by increasing their access to care and services. 


Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Centers (GRECCs) were developed and meant to attract scientists and health science students to the field of geriatrics in order to help increase the basic knowledge of aging, transmit this knowledge to health care providers, and improve the quality of care delivered to elders.

VA Health Care logo The Veterans Health Administration is home to the United States’ largest integrated health care system consisting of 152 medical centers, nearly 1,400 community-based outpatient clinics, community living centers, Vet Centers and Domiciliaries. Together these health care facilities and the more than 53,000 independent licensed health care practitioners who work within them provide comprehensive care to more than 8.3 million* Veterans each year.

My HealtheVet is VA’s online personal health record. It was designed for Veterans, active duty Servicemembers, their dependents and caregivers. My HealtheVet helps Veterans partner with their health care team. It provides the opportunities and tools to make informed decisions and manage health care.

Project Management Team

Judith Howe

 Judith Howe, PhD, MPA, Project Director Dr. Judith L. Howe is Professor in the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine and the Department of Preventive and Community Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She is also Associate Director/Education and Evaluation and Deputy Director, VISN 2 Geriatrics Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) based at the James J. Peters VAMC. In addition, Dr. Howe is the Director of the Consortium of New York Geriatric Centers, and is Director of the VISN 2 GRECC Interprofessional Palliative Care Fellowship Program.

Annette M. Atanous   

Annette M. Hintenach, MSSW, Health Educator
Mrs. Annette Hintenach, is a gerontological social worker with ten years of experience working on behalf of the elderly population. Her training is in macro-level social work and her career interests include Social Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Health Policy.

Curriculum Advisors

The contents of Geriatrics Scholars Community are developed by a panel of content experts in the field of geriatrics and gerontology. Course materials are reviewed periodically to ensure content is up to date with the most current evidence-based practices.

faculty profile of Dr. Helen Fernandez

 Helen Fernandez, MD, MPH, Geriatrician, Clinical Contributor

Dr. Helen M. Fernandez is a Professor and Director of the Geriatrics Fellowship Program at the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY. Her interests include faculty development, evidence-based medicine, learner assessment and medical education.  She has presented on topics including geriatric models of care, career and curriculum development.


Willam Hung

William Hung, MD, MPH, Geriatrician, Clinical Contributor Dr. William Hung is a geriatrician and physician investigator at the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) at James J. Peters VA Medical Center and currently serves as the acting Associate Director of Clinical Programs at the GRECC.  He is an assistant professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY.  His clinical interest lies in designing and evaluating geriatric models of care to improve care of older adults, including older adults living in rural areas.

Fred Ko Fred Ko, MD, MS, Geriatrician, Clinical Contributor
Dr. Fred Ko, MD, is a geriatrician and Assistant Professor in Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a Staff Physician at the GRECC, James J. Peters VAMC.  Dr. Ko received his medical degree at the George Washington University, where he also completed residency training in Internal Medicine.  He completed fellowship training in Geriatric Medicine at the John Hopkins School of Medicine.  Dr. Ko also received master of science degrees in physiology from UCLA and in clinical research from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Icahn School of Medicine.  His clinical and educational expertise focus on the management of geriatric syndromes in older adults across clinical settings. 
Andrea Sherman Andrea Sherman, PhD, Education Consultant

Dr. Andrea Sherman, PhD., is a Curriculum Consultant to the Bronx VA GRECC Rural Health Training Initiative. She trains and presents nationally at numerous meetings, and has published in the areas of Caregiving, Long Term Care, Geriatric Emergency Preparedness and Response, Creativity and Aging, Rituals in the Second Half of Life, Intergenerational Relations, The Arts and Older Americans, and Lifelong Learning. She is Co-Founder and author of Transitional Keys and Seasons of Care, and a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and the New York Academy of Medicine.

image of Dr. Andrade

Allen Andrade, MBBS, Geriatrician, Clinical Contributor

Dr. Andrade is Assistant Professor at the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and a GRECC Investigator at the Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center. Dr. Andrade's current education and research work includes the study of digital human avatars in medical education, personal health records, and health literacy.

Ab Brody image

Ab Brody, PhD, RN, GNP-BC, Clinical Contributor

Dr. Brody is Assistant Professor at NYU and is an expert in home-based interprofessional care of seriously ill older adults . His program of research focuses on how to improve symptom assessment and management of dementia and other chronic conditions through interprofessional care in community based settings including home health and hospice. He also seeks to understand how effective interprofessional care in these settings effects quality of life, healthcare utilization, and healthcare costs. Dr. Brody is a current Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar and a Cambia Healthcare Foundation Sojourns Scholar. His educational focus is on improving the quality of interprofessional geriatric and palliative care education. Dr. Brody is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.

Ellen Olson, MD, Palliative Care

Dr. Ellen Olson is the Director of the VISN 2 GRECC Interprofessional Palliative Care Fellowship Program.

image of Dr. Woodrell

Chris Woodrell, MD, Clinical Contributor

Dr. Woodrell is an Assistant Professor in the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine and Staff Physician at the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center at the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bronx, NY. Dr. Woodrell is a clinical investigator whose work is dedicated to improving the care of seriously ill patients with liver disease and their families. His research goal is to create and implement palliative care programs tailored to the specific needs of people facing advanced liver disease and liver cancer. 

We gratefully acknowledge the following clinical educators for their contribution to interactive course modules on this site:

Niharika Ganta, MD
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Chronic Disease, End of Life

Harry Ramos, MD
Massachusetts General Hospital


Linda Pang, MD
The University of Texas, MD Anderson Center


Pei Chen, MD
University of California San Francisco Medical Center

Interdisciplinary Teamwork, Rural Health

Amanda Overstreet, DO
Medical University of South Carolina

Medication Management

Rachel Bedard, MD
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Delirium in Older Adults

Katherine Wang, MD
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Depression in Older Adults

Megan Rau, MD, MPH
New York University Langone Health

Elder Abuse

Vanessa Rodriguez, MD
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Caregiver Issues in Dementia

Aroonsiri Sangarlangkarn, MD
Mayo Clinic

Sexual Health

Natalie Young, MD
University of California San Francisco Medical Center

Nutrition and Physical Activity

Last modified: Thursday, January 10, 2019, 4:18 PM