Our Work


The Optimizing Aging Collaborative at UCSF addresses gaps in the care of older adults through innovative training and health systems improvement. The “Five Keys to Older Adult Health and Well-Being” are the foundational topic areas for our curriculum and the unifying citywide strategy for improving care and services for older adults.

Five Keys Curriculum

We have a novel curriculum organized around the Five Keys, and we train a wide range of medical and community service providers, as well as older adults and families. Developed by our entire collaborative, our trainings and educational resources are focused on the following Five Keys topic areas:

  1. Cognition—Recognizing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
  2. Independence—Improving function, vision, and hearing
  3. Safety—Preventing falls, elder abuse, and medication side effects
  4. Individualized Goal Setting—Discussing older adults’ priorities and encouraging self-management and prevention
  5. Mental Health—Addressing common mental health disorders, suicide, and caregiver health

Additionally, to focus on vulnerable populations, the curriculum includes input from specific experts among our group. Openhouse provides information about issues facing LGBTQ populations. Alzheimer’s Association - Northern California and Northern Nevada Chapter serves as an expert on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. And, UC Hastings School of Law provides invaluable guidance on comprehensive advanced care planning. All these experts also advise on the care of older adults who live alone.

Experts on caregiver services from both Homebridge and Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly contribute to clinical materials for lay caregivers and health care providers to help close gaps in understanding about what caregivers do. All these experts also advise on the care of older adults who live alone.

Five Keys Strategy

The Five Keys are the basis of our work with primary care health systems, including the San Francisco Health Network, the SF Veterans Affairs Medical Centers, and the Division of General Internal Medicine at UCSF Mt. Zion, and social service agencies (see Our Community Partners). Through site-specific initiatives, we are supporting work to improve and evaluate the way older adults receive critical geriatrics health care and social services in the Five Keys areas. By collaborating across many sectors, we seek to close gaps in the safety net for older adults in San Francisco.

Our Reach

The Optimizing Aging Collaborative at UCSF delivers trainings, educational resources, and professional development to a diverse collection of individuals and organizations focused on providing care for older adults including:

  • Older Adults, Families, and Caregivers
  • Medical Doctors
  • Nursing Professionals
  • First Responders and Law Enforcement Professionals
  • Behavioral Health and Social Work Professionals

Below are a few testimonials from our trainings:

It was valuable to get an overview of what dementia actually is and how to distinguish the different forms, and most importantly what to look for in terms of 'warning signs'. I don't work in elder care professionally, but I volunteer regularly with an 83-year-old elder. I had been wondering how to notice the progression from 'normal' age-related, occasional forgetfulness to something more serious, and this session gave some really good pointers to look out for. Luckily, it seems my elder is not nearing actual dementia yet!

Community Caregiver


The information and discussion on geriatric prognostication was very valuable.

UCSF Third Year Resident in Internal Medicine



Quality Improvement

As an organization committed to quality improvement in health and human services, the Optimizing Aging Collaborative at UCSF has adopted several innovative practices in our program operations and evaluation. These include:

  • Using a novel tiered-training approach to geriatrics-primary care integration that maximizes geriatrics impact and strengthens our health care workforce.
  • Managing all project operations in accordance with LEAN principles to maximize the value of structures and processes for our trainees and our funder, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.
  • Gathering theoretically supported evaluation data on structure, process and outcomes to provide transparent reporting and continuous quality improvement in our curriculum development, as well as our training implementation.