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Graduate Certificate in Gerontology

Schedule of Courses - Fall Term
Fall Term  ·  Spring Term  ·  Summer Term

* = Online Course

This course is designed as an independent study for students in the public health and aging program.  Its focus is on the methods and technology for diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
Course offers an introduction to the analysis of ethical issues associated with an aging society and, in particular, the clinical care of older adults.  Participants will be able to identify major ethical issues affecting older adults, their caregivers, and society and will be able to engage in the exploration and analysis of those issues using the bioethics frameworks studied and discussed in class.
This course is an online, interactive experience based on the 13 year success of the generations Together Intergenerational training Institute at the University of Pittsburgh.  The course is designed to help develop skills needed for success in the intergenerational field.  Students read course materials, do online assignments, and discuss the content with fellow students and instructors.  And follow step-by- step procedures to complete the individual units.
This course will review issues in mental health in late life, ranging from normal aging and coping with stress, to the presentation of and treatment of mental illness in late life.  The course will be organized as a discussion course requiring regular participation from students to analyze weekly readings and react to guest lectures.  This seminar has three main objectives: To introduce students to issues of both mental health and mental illness in late life, to familiarize students with the mental illness affecting older adults, and to engage students in identifying, exploring and analyzing issues related to mental health in late life and both differences and similarities between mid-life and older adults
This course is designed to provide a broad foundation of information related to Human Performance and Nutrition as one ages.  The impact of Human Performance and Nutrition on an individual´s overall wellness and independence is examined.
Navigating Grief & Loss in Older Adults is an online course that provides a more in-depth look at grief & loss in its varying forms. For the last four decades, there has been unchallenged agreement that the discussion of the human experience of death, grief and loss belong in the study of human service professionals. Grief & Loss is a universal experience. We will explore several dimensions of grief and loss through the lens of older adults. We will not limit our scope to grief as it applies to only those feelings after a death, but will also spend considerable time looking at grief and loss through the wider “life lens” (i.e., developmental, maturational, and functional losses in older adults; secondary losses; and loss triggers). Our focus will study the experiences of bereaved individuals coping with loss(es), and individuals who are dying. Theoretical perspectives will be utilized in this course while also exploring other areas of interest such as; culture & spirituality, resiliency & hope, and professional self-care.

The information attained through this course will enable you to apply grief & loss models and concepts with older adults specifically, with any human, and also personally. You will be more effective in taking an educated, individualized, & holistic approach in dealing with these inevitable life losses. By doing so, you will ultimately assist those whom you work with towards healing.
Evidence-Based Approaches to Support Family Caregivers, is an online course that provides a more in-depth look at research-informed approaches and interventions in supporting family caregivers. By delving into these approaches, which is based on the most recent research, helping professionals will be better equipped to assist family caregivers in providing care, maximizing self-efficacy, and infusing increased knowledge to family caregivers who are the primary source of support for older adults with chronic illness and disability. By investigating evidenced-based interventional approaches, students will examine psychosocial, psychotherapeutic, technologically-based interventions, as well as coordination care services & resources. Our study will also focus on the experiences of family caregivers and walking the journey alongside them, while also being able to assist in interventional approaches and tools for best care practices. In this work, students will envelope a view of holistic approaches of caring for the caregiver, but also in giving voice to the care recipient and understanding their needs during this journey of being cared for. The exploration of several dimensions and approaches to caregiving will include psychological and physical health, as well as social relationships and support. In focusing on these areas, we will not only look at risk factors for adverse outcomes but also positive aspects of caregiving. This course will briefly touch on special populations for caregiving which will include looking at families who care for their children due to illness or disability. The information attained in this course will enable helping professionals to apply approaches and concepts learned to carers and care recipients in comprehending the multi-faceted dynamics that come along with the role of caregiving.
Diversity and Aging addresses racial/ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, cultural, sexual orientation, and religious differences that define the aging population. This course will investigate recent research on the impact of diversity and inclusion in aging populations.
A student-initiated educational experience, guided by a faculty member that significantly supplements the core curriculum of the certificate and provides specialized, focused training in aging.
This is a broad survey course of the legal regulation of the health care industry.  In general, it examines how concerns by patients, health care providers, and health care payers about cost, quality and access affect the way in which health care is provided.  The topics covered are the legal regulation of the quality of health care through mechanisms such as professional licensure, hospital privileges, and institutional licensure; common-law and statutory obligations to provide care; state and federal regulation of insurance and managed care; healthcare fraud and abuse; and healthcare antitrust.
This course is designed as an independent study for students in the public health and aging program.  Its focus is on the methods and technology for diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the methodological aspects of epidemiologic research in the field of aging and geriatrics.  The course will examine major epidemiologic cohort studies of aging, clinical trials and nursing home research.  The focus of this course will be demography, study, design, sampling, recruitment, and both physical and cognitive assessment.
This course defines the range of interpersonal practice with and for the elderly in terms of primary, secondary and tertiary levels of intervention.  A broad range of clinical practice roles is addressed in regards to practice across a broad spectrum of settings.  All of the established social work practice approaches are looked at in detail for treatment procedures which can be applied to work with the elderly.  An eclectic perspective to practice with the elderly is stressed.
Methods of intervention with the suicidal and terminally ill patient and his family, covering ethical problems related to right to life and right to death issues, explication of Kubler-Ross' five stages of dying, religious orientations to death and dying, and pathological and normal grief reactions.
This course focuses on diagnostic decision making from the perspective of the evidence for the validity and reliability of selected functional assessment instruments.  Instruments that focus on the consequences of pathologies at the levels of impairment, activity limitation, and participation restriction will be reviewed.
This course reviews the basic concepts of epidemiology including community diagnosis, analytical techniques, and evaluation of preventive methods.  Examples of both acute and chronic diseases will be covered.  The course includes lectures, readings, homework assignments, and several multiple-choice examinations.  Courseweb is utilized.  (Three sections are offered, one of which is Web based.)
This course provides the student with an introduction to the epidemiological basis for designing and evaluating prevention programs in the community, the epidemiological basis of evaluating health services, and analysis of health care and design of community programs.
This course provides an introduction to multiple areas of assistive technology and rehabilitation engineering.  It is a fall term course and a prerequisite for HRS 2705, which is offered in the spring.  The course is designed for graduate students to simply learn more about the field of rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology, as well as for those needing a foundation to build upon for more advanced studies in the field.

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For more information contact:


Jennifer K. Bissell

Program Manager
(412) 624-1019


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University Center for Social & Urban Research
3343 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260   ·   412-624-5442