By Kim Chaudoin on 6/22/2011
Lipscomb’s innovative program among few of its kind in the nation
Lipscomb University announces its new School of TransformAging that will focus on healthy aging and the development of leaders who will bring new thinking to the quickly changing landscape in how our society looks at, experiences and lives with aging.
“Services for this population have not grown as quickly as the number of people needing to be served. One of the School of TransformAging’s primary objectives is to prepare individuals to transform the way we, as a society, care for the aging. This program combines a unique interdisciplinary education with engaging and collaborative conversations to bring innovative solutions to aging services,” said Charla Long, creator of the School of TransformAging
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services the number of persons 65 or older in the United States numbered 39.6 million in 2009 (the latest year for which data is available). They represented 12.9% of the U.S. population, about one in every eight Americans. By 2030, there will be about 72.1 million older persons, more than twice their number in 2000.
Beginning this fall, Lipscomb’s School of TransformAging will offer a Master of Professional Studies and a graduate certificate in aging services leadership. These are multi-disciplinary programs that combine psychology, social work, theology, business, nutrition, conflict management, leadership and law to create the holistic aging services professional of the future.
The graduate certificate program has already been well received by the aging services industry. Tennessee Health Management has already contracted with Lipscomb to send 40 nursing home administrators through the certificate program in a commitment to education and workforce development.
“Today’s aging services challenges can only be addressed collaboratively. Lipscomb’s School of TransformAging not only provides the industry with the bridge to collaboration, it also ensures that tomorrow’s leaders are prepared to join the discussion. THM’s partnership with Lipscomb directly benefits the population we serve while demonstrating our commitment to helping address those very challenges,” said Charlie Anderson, vice president of SNF operations for Tennessee Health Management Inc.
These programs are designed to prepare students for a variety of careers including those in home- and community-based services, long-term care and nursing home administration, government service and public policy leadership, nutrition and wellness, and social services and elder mediation. Coursework is offered in a combination of online and on-site instruction to allow students maximum accessibility, especially beneficial for working professionals.
“Effectively meeting the challenge of the exploding aging demographic will require significant collaboration. This must include academic, non-profit, public, private and faith-based communities,” said James Vandiver, executive director, Harpeth Hills Resource Center on Aging.
The School of TransformAging will also create and showcase innovation through programs such as its anticipated “Age-N-Place” concept house, where sponsoring corporations and vendors demonstrate their support of better aging services in a working home that features the latest in adaptive technology and innovative thinking. Family caregivers can tour the home, virtually or in person, to see how these products allow for independent aging.
By partnering with businesses, non-profit entities and governmental agencies, the school will also create customized educational programs, resulting in more comprehensively trained professionals. In addition, the school stands as a convener of conversations for those involved in aging services to help facilitate collaborative problem-solving through summits and meetings and to provide online resources on aging issues for providers and recipients. Most recently, the school partnered with Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s administration to host the Governor’s Summit on Aging on June 21.
“As a university committed to excellence and dedicated to public service, Lipscomb is uniquely positioned to provide leadership in bringing together public, private and non-profit agencies and businesses with a shared goal of improving the lives of Tennessee seniors. Through education, innovation, collaboration and resource development, Lipscomb can help Tennessee become a national leader in promoting healthy lifestyles, and developing communities, programs and services that enhance the aging experience,” said Patti Killigsworth, assistant commissioner of long term care, Bureau of TennCare.
The inaugural founders of the School of TransformAging’s National Industry Advisory Council includes the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), HealthSpring, THM and United Health Care.