Movers and Shakers

16552395718_08dafa2248_hWhen it comes to interprofessional education, the conga line usually forms behind Elizabeth “Ibby” Tanner. So it’s no surprise to see her out front again, leading an interprofessional troupe of students in the annual Geriatric Interest Group’s Senior Prom (and dancing the night away) at Stadium Place in Baltimore.

“It’s different every year,” Ibby says of an event she never tires of and which means as much to the students as to the residents of Stadium Place. Through the prom, members of the Geriatric Interest Group, or GIG, get the opportunity to interact – in electric slide mode or not – with the population they will serve and get a glimpse of what quality care and compassion can mean at any age.

This year’s theme was “Around the World” (a perfect choice given Ibby’s global consulting in China, Germany, and Australia on designing and implementing methods that prepare nurses to care for the aging population and conduct community-based research). Each table was decorated to represent a different city from countries across the globe, with mini hot-air balloons and map confetti thrown in for fun.

Music of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s kept feet moving, and GIG members entertained Stadium Place residents with their “best worst dance moves,” of course a big hit.

“It is a celebration of life during the long and cold winter,” says Marion Trumbull, president of GIG and student at the School of Nursing, of the late February event. “The conditions during the winter make it difficult for older adults to leave their homes and enjoy the company of others, but events like the Senior Prom change that.”

16117628064_6e250001a9_bAnd for one night, mobility issues didn’t matter.

“It was great seeing people dancing both on the dance floor and in their seats,” says Naomi Gorfinkle of the School of Medicine.

As for Ibby, it was another chance to kick up her heels over a program that exposes students of medicine, public health, and nursing to the importance and power of working together in healthcare. She holds joint appointments in the Johns Hopkins University schools of Nursing and Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology, and is core faculty in the Center on Aging and Health. She is a Hartford Institute Geriatric Nursing Research Scholar, serves on committees of the National Gerontological Nurses Association, the Gerontological Society of America, and Sigma Theta Tau, and is a member of the Baltimore City Commission on Aging and Retirement Education.

“It was a special night – again,” Ibby says.

The Geriatric Interest Group is a student organization dedicated to enhancing knowledge about nursing roles and the science and practice of quality nursing care for older adults. Through the year, it hosts events like a spa day for older adults, intergenerational healthy cooking events for middle schoolers and seniors, and service learning events in which students conduct blood pressure and other health screenings, teach older adults about managing medical conditions, visit homebound adults, and participate in health and wellness education.

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– Steve St. Angelo

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