UNI answers need for elder care<br>

Posted on Tuesday, May 7th, 2002

Howard Barnes, head, Department of Design, Family and Consumer Sciences, (319) 273-2358
James O'Connor, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

According to the latest U.S. Census, the number of Iowans age 85 or older increased by 19 percent between 1990 and 2000. In fact, there are now more than 30 million older Americans. As that number rises, so will the need for programming, policies and health care to serve that population.

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, has given UNI permission to begin offering a major in gerontology with the fall 2002 semester. Howard Barnes, head of the Department of Design, Family and Consumer Sciences expects 20 students to begin the program, with steady growth after that.

'Given the national trend and the strong Iowa trend, it is vital that we have people educated to provide services to an aging population,' explained Barnes. 'This program will be the first bachelor-level undergraduate major in gerontology offered by any higher education institution in the state.'

UNI is developing an articulation agreement with Des Moines Area Community College, and will work with other community colleges to develop articulation agreements.