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SCVNews.com | COC to Help Students Explore Courses in Health Care for Elderly | 11-17-2011
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College of the Canyons officials will hold a series of information sessions designed to shed more light on the college’s Skills for Healthy Aging Resources and Programs (SHARP) certificate program and the emerging career opportunities associated with this field of the health care industry.

The first program of its kind to be offered anywhere in the nation, the 12-unit SHARP program at COC is designed for students to be able to complete in just one semester, with classes scheduled in the evenings and afternoons to accommodate working adults.

Geared toward those interested in careers in aging services or the larger health care industry, the SHARP program will provide the skills and knowledge needed to begin delivering various types of evidence-based health promotion (EBHP) strategies to older adults, in a variety of health care settings.

“The goal of the SHARP program is to teach students about these issues and get them trained to be able to go out into the field and relay this important information to the growing number of older adults who are in need of such services,” said Dr. Patty Robinson, Dean of the Social Sciences and Business Division at College of the Canyons.

According to recent projections, more than 10,000 adults from the baby boomer generation will join the ranks of “older adult” each day, until 2029 — representing approximately 25 percent of the nation’s population by 2025.

It’s also projected that by the year 2030 approximately six of every 10 people will be managing more than one chronic health condition.

As a result, various state-run EBHP programs are being offered to older adults in settings such as senior centers, hospitals, health clinics and senior housing facilities. However, the program leaders and facilitators responsible for overseeing these programs have recently been required to undergo specific training in order to be certified for such work.

A recent Aging Labor Force Study conducted by the California Social Work Education Center found that most public social services employees do not have any formal training related to aging and older adults.

“The SHARP program was designed to provide those organizations with a qualified set of graduates to form an applicant pool and hire from,” said Dr. Janet Frank, Assistant Director for Academic Programs, Multicampus Programs in Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, UCLA. “However, gerontology is a multidisciplinary field, so the content included in this program will give students a great foundation to pursue many types of work in the health care industry.”

The SHARP program was formed in collaboration with College of the Canyons, Santa Barbara City College, Partners in Care Foundation, National Council on Aging, California Geriatric Education Center and the California Council on Gerontology and Geriatrics, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

Students interested in learning more about the college’s one-semester SHARP program and the growing number of employment opportunities available in the aging services and health care industries should plan on attending one of four upcoming information sessions.

SHARP information sessions will be held at the college’s Valencia campus at the following dates and times:

– 4 to 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28 — Aliso Lab, Room 101

– 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30 — Hasley Hall, Room 232

– 5 to 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5 —Hasley Hall, Room 232

– 4 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14 — Hasley Hall, Room 232

This spring, the college will offer the four-course, 12-unit, SHARP certificate program, with students being able to complete the first two courses in the program — Gerontology101: Introduction to Healthy Aging and Gerontology 102: Health Promotion-Behavior Change Theories and Practices — during the first six weeks of the program.

During the second 10-week block, students will begin to apply the skills they have learned in the courses Gerontology103: Health Promotion Program Implementation and Gerontology 104: Health Promotion-Field Practicum, which involves 60-hours of fieldwork at a local community service provider.

Upon completion of the program students will be able to pursue employment in the aging services industry in positions that require individuals to plan, administer, evaluate and/or teach such programs.

For more information about the college’s SHARP program please contact Dr. Patty Robinson at (661) 362-3992 or visit http://www.canyons.edu/departments/SOC/SHARP/Sharp_Home.asp.

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