Binghamton University receives award to launch elder care social work program


BINGHAMTON, NY – The Binghamton University Masters of Social Work (MSW) program has been awarded $75,000 to develop an innovative program that prepares social workers to specialize in older adult care.  Know as the Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education, Binghamton will adopt a model developed by the New York Academy of Medicine’s Social Work Leadership Institute, which receives support from the John A. Hartford Foundation.  The program addresses the growing demand for social workers as the United States faces an aging population that is expected to triple by 2050.

“We are thrilled to have been awarded this grant and to be able to expand our efforts towards increasing competence in gerontological social work in the Southern Tier,” said Social Work Department Chair Laura Bronstein.  “This award would not have been possible without the collaboration of Broome County Aging Futures Partnership and local aging services providers.”

The Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education works to build collaborations between universities and community agencies to offer students hands-on and varied experience caring for older adults across a range of settings.  The program differs from traditional MSW programs as it offers students’ field rotations rather than experience in a single agency setting during their academic year placement.

The program at Binghamton will begin in the fall of 2008 and will fund a faculty field instructor, a researcher and MSW interns to provide services to these local participating agencies. "This grant affords both the students and our community with invaluable resources,” said Jennifer Marshall, Director of Field Education in the Social Work Department.

 “Students will have the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills working with elders across a continuum from health to death, while community agencies will have the added resources of our students who will devote time and energy to build programs, assess needs and address policy needs of the aging population in this region."

Over the course of an academic year, each student will be placed in at least two Southern Tier agencies serving older adults. Through these placements students will assist agencies with various initiatives, such as needs assessments, researching the correlation between falls and vision impairment and the creation of support, and educational groups for caregivers in rural areas.

The MSW program will partner with Aging Futures, which operates out of the Broome County Office for Aging and their 60 member agencies, as well as other local agencies serving older adults. “Broome County has had a long-standing commitment to providing community based services that assist elders to remain in their home,” according to Kathleen Bunnell, Director Broome County Office for Aging and Chairperson, Aging Futures Partnership.  “We are uniquely positioned to provide a rich environment of study for MSW students.   The exciting grant opportunity through the New York Academy of Medicine will help to address the needs of seniors while training a workforce that is currently not adequate to meet future needs.”

The need for trained social workers is entering a critical phase in the U.S.  Within the next three decades, 70 million, or one in five Americans will be 65 or older.  Yet, according to a 2004 survey by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), only four percent of social workers currently specialize in aging and nearly 30 percent of licensed social workers are over 55 and poised to retire in the next decade. Nationally, seniors comprise 16.2% of the U.S. population and 16.8% of New York State residents.  Broome County ranks above the national average with over 20%, and 40% of those seniors over the age of 75.  In addition, the 85 plus age group is experiencing the highest rate of growth (33%) of any age cohort.

About the Social Work Leadership Institute

Social Work Leadership Institute is a national initiative working to ensure that America's older adults receive the care they need to live life to the fullest - and that their caregivers also get the support they deserve. It is housed at The New York Academy of Medicine, an independent, non-partisan, non-profit institution whose mission is to enhance the health of the public through research, education, advocacy, and prevention. More information can be found at

About the John A. Hartford Foundation

John A. Hartford Foundationis a committed champion of training, research and service system innovations that promote the health and independence of America’s older adults.  Through its grantmaking, the Foundation seeks to strengthen the nation’s capacity to provide effective, affordable care to this rapidly increasing older population by educating “aging-prepared” health professionals (physicians, nurses, social workers), and developing innovations that improve and better integrate health and supportive services.  Additional information about the Foundation and it programs is available at



Last Updated: 9/17/13