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U of U Professor Awarded Prestigious Faculty Scholarship

May 17, 2002 — Last week Peter Maramaldi, assistant professor at the University of Utah Graduate School of Social Work, was named as one of ten national Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholars. The scholars will participate in institutes to further their research and will be paired with a National Research Mentor and a school-based sponsor who will support their professional leadership and research career development. Additionally, over the next two years, each of the scholars will receive $100,000 to improve the well being of older adults by strengthening geriatric social work.

The grant will support Maramaldi’s continued research, conducted in New York and now in Utah, comparing older Latina and white women’s experiences with breast cancer.

“I hope that my Hartford scholarship will benefit the University of Utah by drawing resources toward gerontology; attracting more students to the gerontological practice; and heightening local, state and federal representatives’ awareness of resource needs,” notes Maramaldi, who, at age 17, left home to work in community-based programs in Harlem and the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Much of his time was spent visiting older shut-ins.

“Ultimately I hope my work will contribute to efforts that will improve the health and well-being of older people and their caretakers living in urban and rural regions of Utah, the United States and in other countries and cultures,” Maramaldi says.

Jannah Mather, dean of the University’s Graduate School of Social Work, notes, “Dr. Maramaldi was considered one of the most sought after Ph.D. graduates in the year 2001. The University of Utah was honored to have him become part of its faculty and the honor continues to increase with this award, as does the prestige of the school.”

Maramaldi is passionate about addressing the increasing needs of those age 65 and older as the baby boomers begin to join their ranks. “The baby boomers’ health and living assistance needs will increase with age. We can barely meet the needs of older people today. We must start preparing-as a nation-to meet the needs of our aging society now,” he says.

Maramaldi holds a B.A. in psychology from Montclair State University. He received an M.S.S.W. and Ph.D. in social work and an M.P.H. from Columbia University. Maramaldi’s areas of interest include oncology, cross-cultural comparisons of health behaviors, health screening and health disparities.

The Gerontological Society of America administers the Hartford Faculty Scholars program. It is estimated that there are more than 600,000 practicing social workers in the U.S. While most report that geriatric knowledge is needed in their professional work, less than five percent of all masters level students in social work, and about seven percent of doctoral level students specialize in aging. The Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholars Program is a $5.4 million project created to ensure that the country will have the necessary pool of trained and skilled geriatric social workers by creating faculty leaders specialized in geriatric research and teaching.