Arkansas Aging Initiative

Arkansas Aging Initiative

Providing Interdisciplinary Care to Older Adults, Statewide

Background & Goal

Arkansas is the only state in America offering a state-wide infrastructure of regional Centers on Aging aiming to promote optimum health through person-centered health care and education. This network of Centers on Aging, the Arkansas Aging Initiative (AAI) draws upon over fifteen years of experience working with hospitals, communities, educational institutions, health care professionals and health care and social service educators. The established format of providing both primary care and education by an interprofessional team has proven to offer seniors health care and education individualized to meet their needs.

The Arkansas Aging Initiative aims to improve the quality of life and care for older adults and their families by developing regional Centers on Aging that provides quality interdisciplinary clinical care and innovative education programs; and influences health policy at the state and national levels, with emphasis on care of rural older adults, culturally relevant, providing not only access to clinical services but also to a wide-range of health promotion and disease prevention services to reduce health disparities in an underserved population.

Center Description

Arkansas Aging Initiative (AAI) is a network of eight regional centers on aging located geographically across the state and is funded by a portion of Arkansas’ share of the Master Tobacco Settlement receiving between $1.5 and 2 million annually since 2001. Each center has an interprofessional practice that includes a primary care clinic owned and operated by the partner hospital. Each clinic interprofessional team is person centered and assists the older adult to achieve optimal functioning and management of chronic illness. Several centers have a nursing home practice and two of the centers offer primary care in the home.

For More Information Contact:

Claudia J. Beverly, PhD, RN, FAAN

Murphy Chair in Rural Aging Leadership and Policy 
Director, Arkansas Aging Initiative
Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
4301 W. Markham #748
Little Rock, AR 72205

The AAI and partner hospitals have successfully recruited a geriatrician, advanced practice nurse and social worker to provide the clinical services. The education component provides educational offerings to health professionals, students of the health care and social service disciplines, older adults and their families and the community at large. It serves as primary provider of quality geriatric education for the state of Arkansas and as a laboratory for developing nurse leaders to assume key organizational positions in nursing education and clinical geriatric nursing care.

Evidence of Success

  • 90 % of Arkansans age 65 and older are within 60 miles of interdisciplinary geriatric health care. Each clinic is an outpatient department of the parent hospital.
  • Since 2006 AAI partnered Senior Health Clinics have had over 194,299 interprofessional primary care visits.
  • More than 341,823 education encounters have been provided since 2006.
  • Arkansas is the only state that has established this unique concept and thus has become a natural laboratory to study quality of care and quality of life of seniors, many living in rural areas. 
  • The AAI will be replicated in Oklahoma through funding by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation with a start date of Nov. 1, 2011.
  • Infrastructure in place to provide Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management as a component of implementing Wagner’s Chronic Disease Model in each Center.
  • Over 7,000 students from multiple disciplines have participated in learning opportunities in the AAI since 2004.
  • The AAI has received House and Senate resolutions from the State legislature on three occasions since 2004, a proclamation from the Governor Beebe in 2011 commending the AAI for service to the State and the director has provided testimony to the Senate Special on Aging and to both the House and Senate Public Health Welfare and Labor Committee at the State level.
  • Health professionals in AR report a change in practice following aging focused education.(2009)
  • The AAI has leveraged over $5 million since 2005 through grants, contracts, philanthropy and other sources.
  • Hospital based primary care clinics show a profit in addition to the increased down-stream revenue for the hospital. (2008)