Schools with an Exceptional Faculty in Long-Term Care & Nursing Home Administration

Technological breakthroughs have helped increase life expectancy, which has resulted in a larger population of the elderly. Gerontology, a field focused on long-term care and administration for senior citizens, is gaining even more importance. Older populations face a unique set of social and economic challenges that require well-trained professionals who can make the experience of aging an enriching one.

Several universities offer undergraduate and graduate programs in gerontology or long-term care administration. These programs focus on the psychological, social, and physical aspects of aging and teach students how to manage long-term care organizations. Students learn the science behind adaptation, aging, and theory. In the process, they learn how to guide older persons and adopt ethical principles to address their care needs.

The following guide covers four schools with exceptional programs and faculty members in long-term care and nursing home administration.

University of Massachusetts, Boston

The University of Massachusetts, Boston—often referred to as UMass Boston—is a public research university within the University of Massachusetts school system. UMass Boston puts a special focus on global and urban engagement and teaching and promotes lifelong learning and serves as a catalyst for interactions between scholarly communities, alumni, public, and students. The College of Nursing and Health Sciences is the ninth largest nursing school in the country, and the university has many research partnerships, including those with the Dana-Farber Harvard Cancer Center, IBM, and the Boston Public Schools. UMass also is home to the LeadingAge LTSS Center, which is devoted to long-term care services and support.

The school’s gerontology department is nestled within the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. The department offers several graduate programs for the study of aging. Its doctoral program is one of the oldest of its kind and has graduated the most gerontology doctoral students in the world. Within the department is the Gerontology Institute, a research facility that studies the social and economic elements of aging to support policy reform as it relates to income security and long-term care.

  • Kathrin Boerner, PhD – University of Massachusetts

    Dr. Kathrin Boerner teaches gerontology at UMass Boston. Her teaching interests include the psychology of aging, family relations in later life, health and aging, and theme-based classes in areas of expertise (e.g., coping with chronic illness, caregiving, bereavement, or geriatric workforce issues).

    Her research explores the adaptation to major life changes, functional loss, bereavement, family caregiving, and workforce issues in long-term care. She has published her work in the Journal of Aging & Social Policy, the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, and the Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care.

    She has a doctorate from the Free University of Berlin, a master’s degree from the University of Trier, and a bachelor’s from the Christian Albrechts University of Kiel—all in psychology.

  • Jennifer Gaudet Hefele, PhD – University of Massachusetts

    Dr. Jennifer Hefele is an assistant professor in the Department of Gerontology in the McCormack Graduate School. She’s an expert in long-term care, especially in service iniquities related to race and ethnicity, as well as the implications of policy. She formerly worked as a senior research associate in the Schneider Institutes for Health Policy at Brandeis University, where she examined healthcare quality and usage for elders. Notably, she’s leading a study entitled “Chasing Medicare,” which is funded by the Patrick and Catherine Weldon Donaghue Medical Research Foundation.

    She earned her PhD in social policy (health policy concentration) from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, as well as her BLA and MA from UMass Lowell.

  • Pamela Nadash, PhD – University of Massachusetts

    Dr. Pamela Nadash is an associate professor in the Department of Gerontology in the McCormack Graduate School, where she leads courses in the school’s gerontology PhD and management of aging services programs. Prior to joining UMass, she served as a consultant at Thomson Medstat, mainly working with the federal government in ironing out issues related to long-term care. She also worked at the Center for Home Care Policy and Research and the National Council on Aging. She’s an expert in integrated care models, policies and consumer choice in long-term care, and comparative health.

    Dr. Nadash earned her PhD at Columbia University, a master’s degree in political theory from Oxford University, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Bryn Mawr College.

  • Edward Alan Miller, PhD – University of Massachusetts

    Dr. Edward Alan Miller is a professor in the Department of Gerontology and PhD in public policy program. He has considerable experience studying long-term care, intergovernmental relations, Medicaid, and telemedicine, among other areas of expertise. His current research examines how government policies affect vulnerable groups such as the elderly and disabled. Prior to joining UMass, he was a Fulbright Scholar, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale University, and a social policy analyst at the Congressional Research Service.

    Dr. Miller has published extensively in peer-reviewed scholarly journals such as the Milbank Quarterly, the American Journal of Public Health, Medical Care, and the Journal of Aging & Social Policy, where he is editor-in-chief. He also has worked on several books, including The Affordable Care Act: Advancing Long-Term Care in the United States. He earned his PhD and MA from the University of Michigan, and his MPA and BA from Cornell University.

  • Jeffrey Allan Burr, PhD – University of Massachusetts

    Dr. Jeffrey Allan Burr is chair of the department of gerontology at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. As a professor in the same subject, he teaches introduction to sociology, a research practicum in gerontology, research methods and experimental design, the social aspects of aging, and social demography.

    Presently, Dr. Burr’s research efforts focus on race and ethnicity in aging populations, the social demography of aging, productive activity in later life, aging and health, household composition and living arrangements, and late-life labor force participation. He has been published his research in top-notch journals such as the Journal of Gerontology, the Journal of Aging and Health, and the Journal of Aging Studies. He is also a member of the American Sociological Association and the Gerontological Society of America.

    Dr. Burr completed his doctorate and master’s in psychology at the University of Texas and his bachelor’s in the same subject at Texas Tech University.

University of Southern California, Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

The University of Southern California is a private research university that offers several online graduate programs in long-term care and nursing home administration that reflect the school’s high standards of excellence and integrity. The University of Southern California currently offers around 100 online programs to more than 8,000 executive education students and graduates.

The USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology is the country’s first professional school of gerontology. It pioneered some of the world’s first educational programs in gerontology, including a doctoral degree, a dual master’s in business administration, and an undergraduate health science track. The school’s master of aging services management program teaches students how to respond to the needs of the aging population.

  • Susan Enguídanos, PhD – University of Southern California

    Dr. Susan Enguídanos is a professor of gerontology at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. She teaches courses on healthcare policy, end-of-life care, the continuum of care, the social and psychological aspects of death and dying, social work research methods, and statistics.

    Her research efforts focus on palliative care, models of end-of-life care, the continuity of care, physician-to-patient communication, and the ethnic disparities in access to end-of-life care. Dr. Enguídanos is also a member of several professional organizations, such as the American Society of Aging and Gerontological Society of America. Her research has been published in top journals including the Journal of Hospital Medicine, the Journal of Health & Social Work, and the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. She is the recipient of the Best Qualitative Poster Award and USC’s Mellon Mentoring Award.

    Dr. Enguídanos completed her doctorate in social work at the University of Southern California, her master of public health (MPH) at California State University, and her bachelor’s in psychology at the University of California.

  • Kathleen Wilber, PhD – University of Southern California

    Dr. Kathleen Wilber is a professor of gerontology and policy planning and development at the University of Southern California. She teaches courses on the management of long-term care organizations, power in an aging society, policy values, administration and systems management in programs for older adults, and politics and policy processes in an aging society.

    Dr. Wilber’s research explores economic security, protecting vulnerable elders, and improving health and long-term services and support. She has published her work in the influential Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect, the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, and the Journal of Aging & Social Policy.

    She has a doctorate in public administration, a master of public administration, a master of social work, and a certificate in gerontology from the University of Southern California, as well as a bachelor’s degree in American history from Manhattanville College.

University of Southern Indiana

The University of Southern Indiana was founded in 1965. It offers more than 130 areas of study and enrolls more than 11,000 students. Spread over a 1,400-acre campus in Evansville, Indiana its various schools include the Romain College of Business, the Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education, the College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Nursing and Health Professions.

The College of Nursing and Health Professions offers 12 academic programs and houses the Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness, which prepares students to meet the special needs of the aging population. Undergraduate students majoring in health services can specialize in gerontology or long-term care administration and those majoring in kinesiology can specialize in senior fitness. Furthermore, the school offers a minor in gerontology.

  • M. Catherine Ehlman, PhD – University of Southern Indiana

    Dr. Katie Ehlman is an associate professor of gerontology and director of the Center for Healthy Aging and Wellness at the University of Southern Indiana. She teaches courses on the healthcare aspects of gerontology, healthy aging, health facilities administration, healthcare continuum and community services, and person-centered care.

    Her research efforts center around dementia, attitudes about aging, and nursing home quality. She is a member of professional organizations such as Association for Gerontology in Higher Education and Gerontology Society of America. Dr. Ehlman has published her research in the Journal of Health Administration Education, the Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, and the International Journal of Reminiscence and Life Review.

    Dr. Ehlman earned her doctorate in health-related sciences from Virginia Commonwealth University, her master of business administration (MBA) from Webster University, her master of social work from St. Louis University, and her bachelor of arts in history from Quincy University.

Webster University

Webster University prepares students for individual excellence and global citizenship. The school’s main campus is in Webster Groves, Missouri, but the school’s programs offered are flexible for students and its dynamic learning environment welcomes students and faculty from all around the world.

The gerontology department at Webster University offers an online master of arts and two online graduate certificates. The degree is designed to provide a broad understanding in the field of aging and prepare students for careers in a wide range of sectors. Students interested in a certificate can specialize in gerontology or applied gerontology enhancement and specialization. The former is designed for those who would like to move into the field and the latter is designed for those who have already been working in gerontology and would like to enhance their managerial and administrative skills.

  • Eric A. Goedereis, PhD – Webster University

    Dr. Eric A. Goedereis, an assistant professor of psychology, serves as the academic director of the graduate program in gerontology at Webster University. He teaches integrated studies in gerontology, pregnancy and childbirth, the psychology of adulthood and aging, and adolescent psychology.

    Dr. Goedereis’s research focuses on lifespan development, goal setting, health disparities, motivation, and methodological issues in developmental science. He has published his work in prominent journals such as Journal of Adult Development and the Journal of Special Care in Dentistry.

    He earned his doctorate in developmental psychology from West Virginia University and his master’s and bachelor’s from Western Illinois University.

Methodology

We used the following criteria to select professors for inclusion in this list:

  • University affiliation: Professors must be actively teaching at an accredited university in the U.S.
  • Publication: They have published their research in influential peer-reviewed journals and presented it at industry conferences.
  • Institutional and peer recognition: They have received awards, distinguished titles, notable grants, and research funding.
  • Professional commitment: They have built curricula and programs, become leaders in professional organizations, volunteered extensively in their communities, and/or consulted for companies in the field.

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