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Gerontology instructor, WKU grad attend National Emerging Leadership Summit

Heather O’Banion, a graduate of WKU’s health administration master’s program, and Center for Gerontology Instructor Keith Knapp, were both invited to attend prestigious National Emerging Leadership Summit for Healthcare Administrators in Aging Services in Washington D.C. last week.

“It was just enlightening to see people from my generation that are very engaged in long term care services,” O’Banion said after attending NELS.  “I was in a room full of young leaders with the same excitement and passion that I have for this field.”

The summit provides an opportunity for Generation X and Generation Y leaders in the field of health and aging services administration to engage in discussions of current best practices with other leaders, meet with representatives of key professional organizations, gain an inside perspective on the legislative process, and explore solutions for attracting and retaining other Generation X and Y leaders. This year’s Summit included experts from the American College of Health Care Administrators, the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards, LeadingAge, and the American Health Care Association.

NELS is limited to approximately 30 participants and is therefore highly competitive for participation.  O’Banion is the second WKU graduate and Kentucky resident to attend, with current WKUAging employee and WKU graduate Melanie Eaton being a 2012 attendee.  O’Banion is currently employed as the executive director/administrator of Christian Care Communities, Bowling Green, and has been a licensed nursing home administrator for almost four years.

Dr. Knapp is current CEO of Christian Care Communities Inc.,  part-time instructor for the Center for Gerontology and serves on the CHHS Board of Stakeholders.  Dr. Knapp is also very involved on both state and national level as former and current board member of LeadingAge KY, NAB and ACHCA.

OBanion, Guthrie, Knapp

Heather O’Banion (left) and Keith Knapp (right) met with U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie of Kentucky while attending the National Emerging Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C.

While attending NELS, O’Banion and Dr. Knapp visited the Capitol and met with U.S. Representatives Brett Guthrie, John Yarmuth and Andy Barr and their staff and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, discussing issues in long term care. O’Banion said the theme of this year’s summit was to focus on the public image of leadership careers in long term care and aging service and consistency between states for individual licensure requirements.

The summit is targeted toward healthcare administrators in aging services who have typically been in the field for under 10 years and hold positions in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities and rehabilitation hospitals. Both O’Banion and Knapp encourage other emerging leaders in aging services to apply for an opportunity to attend NELS in the future.

Contact: Melanie Eaton, (270) 745-2356.

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