Geriatric Scholars Virtual Learning 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,

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.


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 ORH logo

The VHA Office of Rural Health (ORH) 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. 

VHA ORH logo

The mission of the VHA Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care (GEC) is to honor Veterans’ preferences for health, independence, & well-being in the face of aging, disability, or illness by advancing expertise, programs, & partnerships.

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.

The Consortium of New York Geriatric Education Centers (CNYGEC) is an affiliation of education and research institutions specializing in geriatrics and gerontology.  Partners include, VISN 2 Geriatric Research Education Clinical Center (GRECC) at James J. Peters VAMC, Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, The New Jewish Home-Research Institute on Aging, and Finger Lakes Geriatric Education Center.   

Project Management Team

Judith Howe

Judith Howe, PhD, MPA, Project Director 

Dr. Howe is Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Associate Director/Education and Evaluation at the VISN 2 GRECC based at James J. Peters VAMC, Bronx, NY.  In addition, Dr. Howe is the Director of the VISN 2 GRECC Interprofessional Palliative Care Fellowship Program.  For the last 20 years, she has served as Director or Co-Director of a number of interprofessional team and rural training initiatives.  She is currently the President of the Association of Gerontology in Higher Education and the Editor-in-Chief of Gerontology and Geriatrics Education.  She is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, and the Gerontological Society of America.   

Eugenia Dorsica

Eugenia Dorisca, BS, Project Coordinator 

Eugenia Dorisca is project coordinator of the VA Geriatric Scholars Program Virtual Learning Community at the Bronx VA. She has a wealth of experience coordinating geriatric education programs at the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, in addition to her role as the coordinator of the Consortium of NY Geriatric Education Centers (CNYGEC) and earlier in her career with the Alzheimer’s Association, NYC Chapter.

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. 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. Hung is a geriatrician and physician investigator at the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center and currently serves as the acting Associate Director of Clinical Programs at the GRECC.  He is an Associate 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.  Dr. Hung is also Project Lead of GRECC Connect.

Fred Ko

Fred Ko, MD, MS, Geriatrician, Clinical Contributor

Dr. Ko is a geriatrician and Associate 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. 
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.

Ellen Olson

Ellen Olson, MD, Palliative Care, Clinical Contributor

Dr. Olson is the Medical Director of the Palliative Care Service at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in Bronx, NY. She is also the Co-Director of the Interprofessional Palliative Care Fellowship and the site director of the ACGME Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship at Mount Sinai. Dr. Olson is an Associate Professor of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. She was a founding member of the VISN 2 GRECC at the James J. Peters VAMC and served as its first Associate Director for Clinical Programs. She has been involved in geriatric and end-of-life patient care and education for more than 30 years.

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. 

Martin Cruz

Martin P. Cruz, PharmD, BCPP, BCGP, FASCP, Clinical Contributor

Dr. Cruz is a clinical pharmacist practitioner at the Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Hampton, Virginia, in the Mental Health Inpatient/Outpatient and Hospice/Palliative Care Unit. He is a Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist, Board Certified Psychiatric Pharmacist and a Fellow of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. Dr. Cruz is also active in serving the Hampton community. He has an international faculty appointment with a pharmacy school in the Philippines teaching geriatrics and psychiatry. Dr. Cruz is currently an active member of the VA PBM Pharmacy Education Advisory Group and is committed in advocating for the geriatric population in all his endeavors. 

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
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai


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

Rachael 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, May 11, 2023, 10:18 AM