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3 WKU students present research to long term care professionals

WKU’s College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) had three of only 10 students selected to participate in the Student Research Poster Session at the 2014 American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA) Annual Convocation in Las Vegas, Nev.

WKU students (from left) Allie Randall, Darla Hayden and Kiara Edwards presented research posters at the 2014 American College of Health Care Administrators Convocation in Las Vegas.

WKU students (from left) Allie Randall, Darla Hayden and Kiara Edwards presented research posters at the 2014 American College of Health Care Administrators Convocation in Las Vegas.

“The conference was very exciting and challenging for me personally,” said Kiara Edwards of Lexington, a Master of Health Administration student. “I was able to work on stepping out of my comfort zone and speak with individuals about my research project and my future. Las Vegas was beautiful and the members of ACHCA were witty and also open with us about the real life of a Healthcare Administrator in long term care continuum. The sessions were interesting and the speakers were really intriguing as well.”

Edwards, MHA student Darla Hayden of Henderson and senior Allie Randall of Somerset each conducted research and presented posters on a topic related to long term care. Professionals from around the United States attended the convocation and had an opportunity to review the posters and ask the students questions about their research.

The students also met Mary Helen McSweeney-Feld, co-author of “Dimensions of Long-Term Care Management: An Introduction.” McSweeney’s book has been selected as the required textbook for the Health Care Administration Program’s HCA 345: Long Term Care Administration class beginning Fall 2014.

McSweeney spent some time talking with the WKU students and reviewing each of their research posters. “They were very professional and showed high levels of motivation by applying to a national poster session to exhibit their research,” she said.

“We were certainly honored to have our students selected to present their research at this national conference,” said Melanie Eaton, Instructor in Health Care Administration and the Long Term Care Administration (LTCA) Certificate Program. “As the Department of Public Health continues to strengthen its program offerings and academic preparation of students for careers in long term care, these are the types of opportunities that will set our program apart from others. I look forward to seeing which students will be selected next year and hope to see even more participate.”

In addition to participation at national and regional conferences, Eaton said the department is working to secure some competitive practicum opportunities for LTCA Certificate Program students, including two positions this summer in the Maryland/Washington, D.C., area.

All three students benefited from educational sessions relevant to the profession of long term care and the opportunity to be recognized and network with professionals within the field.

“The ACHCA conference was an insightful learning experience,” said Randall, a student in the Honors College at WKU and Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences program. “The conference was focused on long term care management professionals; however, it is a useful experience for anyone entering the health field. There were informative sessions that depicted various qualities and innovations in the health field.

“Being able to speak with directors and even CEOs of health facilities is beneficial not only for learning about potential paths to take but also getting your foot in the door as a future administrator,” said Randall, who will graduate in May and will be pursuing her Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) at University of Kentucky.

“My attendance to the 48th Annual ACHCA Convocation was filled with lots of encouragement from current Administrators for my future aspirations,” Hayden said. “I would highly encourage and challenge students who are interested in working in long term care to attend both this and any upcoming conferences offered within the Health Care Administration program.”

The students were able to travel to the conference due to the assistance of multiple departments and organizations, including the College of Health and Human Services, Department of Public Health, Department of Allied Health, Downing Student Union, Honors College, Kentucky Chapter of ACHCA and the Ohio Chapter of ACHCA.

For information about the College of Health and Human Services, visit www.wku.edu/chhs

For information about the Long Term Care Certificate Program, visit https://www.wku.edu/publichealth/ltc_certificate_ug.php or contact Melanie Eaton at melanie.eaton@wku.edu

Contact: Melanie Eaton, (270) 745-5854.

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