HIGN Scholars Empowering Older Adults in the Community

older adults in the classroom


As health care providers and advocates, it’s crucial that we provide opportunities to increase health literacy to mitigate health disparities and improve health outcomes. When individuals are better informed about their health conditions, they are better able to manage them and communicate with their providers. HIGN continues its efforts to improve older adults’ health outcomes by providing education programs within the community.

Currently, HIGN is working with the undergraduate program at NYU Meyers to include health education programming in the community into the students’ curriculum. The participants are students in our HIGN Scholars program - a selective program of undergraduate students with an interest in geriatrics. As part of their Community Health course, the students are placed in the older adult centers of Greenwich House, a community services organization. There, the scholars conduct health education workshops using HIGN prepared materials and provide health education counseling to fulfill their clinical placement requirements. The counseling includes blood pressure screening, medication reconciliation and guidance on managing chronic conditions. The students are also required to assess the center and community, and interact with the older adults and staff to learn what matters to the population. From these assessments, the nursing students tailored and gave their own presentations.

This program not only benefits older adults but it is equally as important for the students. First, it gives them experience working outside of the acute care setting. Community health needs more nurses, especially as healthcare shifts towards a model that supports population health. Exposing students to this model during their education allows them to see career possibilities outside of the hospital setting. Second, it allows students to interact with older adults outside of the acute care setting. Too often, recent graduates avoid working with older adults in healthcare settings. Due to stereotypes in our society, they may make assumptions that are rooted in ageism. Creating opportunities to interact with older adults in the community, which is where most of them live, increases the students’ comfort level in working with this population and creates a connection that counters ageism.

The success of this program lies largely on support from HIGN, guidance from Meyers’ faculty and leadership of the preceptors. The support of Greenwich House’s center directors and leadership has been vital. One of the preceptors, perfectly summarizes the importance of this program: “Healthy aging is essential for older adults aging in their community. During this clinical placement, we are truly meeting older adults where they are to promote healthy behaviors and empower them with the knowledge they need to improve their health outcomes. Meyers nursing students are embracing this precious opportunity to interact with older adults and apply their learning to the experience.”


Read the entire March 2023 newsletter here