ROOTSTOWN TWP. — Northeast Ohio Medical University has been awarded a $3.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to study ways to improve the health and wellness of older adults.

NEOMED is partnering on the five-year project, titled "Infusing Interprofessional Geriatric Education into Primary Care and Community Environments," with many other local institutions and agencies.

“It is our hope that this will lay the foundation for a Center of Excellence in Geriatrics at NEOMED,” Margaret B. Sanders, the project’s principal investigator and an assistant professor at the university, said in a prepared statement.

NEOMED and its partners will use online teaching, simulation and experiential training to improve knowledge of the primary care needs of older adults, including those with Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia. They also plan to develop, implement and expand a program to promote dementia-friendly communities across Ohio.

“As social determinants of health have shown to be the primary drivers of outcomes in older adults, the grant will also focus on medication management, accessing resources, completing advance care planning, respite, and navigating issues regarding caregiving,” Susan Hazelett, the project manager and a registered nurse at Summa Health, said in a prepared statement.

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau predicted that people over age 65 will outnumber children under age 18 for the first time in the nation's history by 2030. In Ohio, 13 of the state's 88 counties already had more people of retirement age in 2018 than they had children.

The other partners in the project are: Summa Health; Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging & Disabilities; Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging; the University of Akron; Cleveland State University; AxessPointe Community Health Centers; Benjamin Rose Institute; the Alzheimer’s Association; Saber Healthcare Group; Habitat for Humanity of Summit County; Summit County Public Health; Ohio Council for Cognitive Health; and Hospice of the Western Reserve.