Formerly IGSW News | VOLUME 22 | FALL 2015

From the Director

Headlines remind us…

The Challenges of Providing Health and Social
Services to Older Refugees and Immigrants

By Scott Miyake Geron

ScottThe current migration crisis in the Middle East and Europe has many dimensions. Not least, it is a dramatic reminder of the challenges of providing crucial health and social services to streams of newcomers—in an emergency, and also over time as people try to navigate a different life. This issue of The LearningEdge focuses on CADER's successful efforts to train workers to address the mental health needs of older refugees in the increasingly diverse communities of our own nation of immigrants.

When we see these images of people on the move, we think mostly of job-seekers and young families with children. But older adults are immigrants, and refugees, too. In fact, in the U.S., the numbers of foreign-born adults over age 65 have almost doubled since 1990. Those who arrived here in later life are mostly hidden, out of sight at home, not studied or recognized, and are rarely included in provision of community services. Yet they are highly important to their families—taking care of children and grandchildren and providing other support so that the parents can go to school or work, getting a start in the community.

In this issue, Kathy Kuhn, CADER's director of workforce development, writes about development and implementation of two popular CADER courses that have helped older refugees and immigrants in the community to find increased resilience and mental wellness. We also learn about Nancy Peña, a clinical patient navigator who uses what she learned from the courses to identify those among her older refugee clients who may be at risk for suicide, and to intervene appropriately. Here we see the challenges, and also the solutions and rewards.

Scott Miyake Geron, M.S.W., Ph.D., is director of CADER and associate professor at Boston University School of Social Work.

Boston University photo of Scott Miyake Geron

CADER–Massachusetts General Hospital
Partnership to Evaluate Acute Community Care

PCORI, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, has recently announced that the Center for Aging & Disability Education & Research (CADER) at Boston University will work in partnership with Harvard researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital on a three-year, $1.9 million evaluation project. Scott Miyake Geron, CADER director, and Bronwyn Keefe, CADER associate director, will join an interdisciplinary group of clinicians and researchers to examine a new Massachusetts program, Acute Community Care to Avoid Unnecessary Emergency Department Visits. Look for more information in the next issue of The LearningEdge.

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Copyright © 2015 Trustees of Boston University. All rights reserved. This article may not be duplicated or distributed in any form without written permission from the publisher: Center for Aging & Disability Education & Research, Boston University School of Social Work, 264 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215, U.S.A.; e-mail: