Geriatric Grand Challenge Institute

The Geriatric Grand Challenge Insitute (GGCI) is an innovative continuing education (CE) experience that was first offered in 2003, and has continued to evolve to meet new patient, care teams, and agency needs. Duke has received support from the USDHHS Health Resources and Services Administration to offer both a core and an advanced grand challenge in dementia curriculum through 2015.


The GGCI was developed based on the successful Geriatric Nursing Innovations in Education (GNIE) Institute. GNIE focused on enhancing registered nurses’ geriatric knowledge and clinical leadership skills to enable them to influence practice change. The new Geriatric Grand Challenge Institute invites RNs and their colleagues from other health professions to learn together how they might enhance care outcomes of older adults. The inter-professional participants will apply their knowledge by designing an evidence-based quality improvement initiative within their setting, with coaching from the GGCI faculty. This mentored experience has been a successful component of the GNIE Institute and remains an essential learning component of the new GGCI.

Connecting Health Care Professionals

The Geriatric Grand Challenge Institute (GGCI) will facilitate the bringing together of diverse perspectives and skills to create a critical mass of health care professionals who when confronted with challenges in caring for people with dementia, use an evidence-based set of approaches consistently across settings of care to optimize outcomes.

Grand Challenges

The term “grand challenges” was coined in the 1980s. Grand Challenges are complex problems with broad impact that require a concerted effort of diverse perspectives and skills to resolve. The philosophy behind “Grand Challenges” is that by defining a problem well and facilitating innovative approaches to its management, a wide array of problem-solvers will focus their attention on developing sustainable, effective solutions (USAID, 2012). The rapidly expanding number of older adults with cognitive impairment is a pressing global health challenge. This challenge is growing in significance as dementing disorders often present serious impediments to delivering needed health care, including the management of common diseases such as diabetes and heart failure. With the passage of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA; USGPO, 2011), dementia is now recognized as an important, persistent problem among older adults, that is growing in prevalence. Dementia’s impact is multi-faceted, affecting clinical, social, and family outcomes. Dementia care therefore qualifies as exactly the type of issue that requires the concentrated effort called for in a Grand Challenge approach.

Testimonials from Past Participants

GGCI was an excellent source of information. Throughout the program my colleagues at Cherry Hospital and I gained a wealth of knowledge regarding diagnoses, care and managment of patients with Dementia.  The staff is superb at teaching therapeutic approaches to communicate with patients with dementia.  This is a "must attend" program!   LaDelle Smothers, RN, BSN, MS, 2013 

The GGCI has helped me with my daily interactions with persons who have dementia. The series was fun, educational, and inspiring, and it gave me many meaningful ways to work and interact more effectively with people who have cognitive deficits. I would highly recommend this series to anyone working with elders. It is well worth the time and commitment.   Kerry Rubio, MS, Occupational Therapist, 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction with the instructors and my peers.  We learned a tremendous amount concerning dementia and were able to apply what we learned in a hands on project at the end.  The training offers a lot of resources and a great website by the Duke School of Nursing, Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence.  Linda Windley, MS, Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, 2013 Lenoir Community


This program has been underwritten by a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant awarded to the Duke University School of Nursing.  A Comprehensive Geriatric Education Program Award, DHHS—HRSA D62 HP01909-10-00.