Several WKU students and faculty attended this week’s Louisville Innovation Summit that focused on “America’s New Frontier in Aging.”
WKU faculty who attended the Nov. 12-13 included Dr. Dana Burr Bradley, director of WKU’s Center for Gerontology; Dr. Gary English, head of WKU’s Department of Public Health; Dr. Gregory Ellis-Griffith, assistant professor and director of WKU’s Healthcare Administration Program; Melanie Eaton, instructor in Public Health’s Long Term Care Certificate Program; and Dr. Keith Knapp and Patrice Blanchard, faculty affiliates and instructors in Gerontology.
WKU students who attended the summit included: Chip Dalton of Somerset, a Master of Health Administration student; Alyxandra Fey of Louisville, a Health Care Administration student; Joseph McCarty of Owensboro, a Health Sciences student; Kiara Edwards of Lexington, a Master of Health Administration student; Darla Hayden of Henderson, a Master of Health Administration student; Olivia Key of Tompkinsville, a Health Care Administration student; Julianna Pace of Alvaton, a Health Care Administration student; Amanda Waid of Symsonia, a Health Care Administration student; Zachary West of Lafayette, Tenn., a Master of Health Administration student.
Dr. English said the summit was valuable for faculty and students. “Paul Bennett, Chief Creative Officer of IDEO, stated: ‘Do we make our pie bigger or do we make our slice bigger?’ This summit has allowed a change of mindset not only for me, but for the WKU students who attended this summit,” Dr. English said. “Innovation is good for everyone regardless of age. This summit has allowed students to partake in the dementia virtual tour allowing them to grasp a better understanding of those who suffer from dementia and what they endure on a daily basis.
“To meet the demand of the aging population we must think about how products are developed and how services are delivered to enhance the quality of life in the new age of caregiving. This summit allowed me to see that we not only need those who are majoring in healthcare, but make the pie bigger by inviting the disciplines of psychology, engineering, sociology, recreation, and nutrition, to name a few, to play a role in the new age of care innovation.”
Dr. Bradley said research collaborations are vital for WKU’s programs in aging.
“WKU is fortunate to have over 40 faculty involved in research in aging in every college,” she said. “The synergy that results helps spark the imagination to develop new and exciting applications relevant to this growing population. And because we retain that small collegial atmosphere, opportunities to collaborate are numerous.”
She said recent grant proposals include work between scholars in exercise science and psychological sciences to look at issues of balance and another project aimed at documenting what sustainability means in the historical context by filming oral history interviews.
“Our undergraduate students have a tremendous range of courses about aging to choose about and graduate students may gain leadership and management skills through the Aging Studies program,” Dr. Bradley said. “Students attending the summit had a chance to see industry innovate and will take that enthusiasm with them into the marketplace.”
Dr. John Bonaguro, dean of WKU’s College of Health and Human Services, agreed. “The Louisville Innovation Summit brought together leaders in the healthcare industry to discuss new innovations that address the future of healthcare for older adults,” he said. “The summit was an excellent opportunity for students in CHHS to interact with industry leaders about the latest trends in healthcare for older adults. One in eight Americans are over the age of 65 and the number of older adults continues to increase. Our students need to understand the changing landscape of healthcare for this population.”
More about the programs
- Read about WKU students’ visit to the dementia virtual tour.
- For information on WKU’s undergraduate and graduate programs in aging or to learn more about research collaborations, contact Dr. Dana Bradley at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.wku.edu/aging
- For information about WKU’s Long Term Care Administration Certificate Program, contact Melanie Eaton at email@example.com
- For information about WKU’s Public Health programs, visit http://www.wku.edu/publichealth/index.php
Contact: Public Health, (270) 745-2015; or WKU Aging, (270) 745-2356.