Leading the Field of Aging Services
The Wall Street Journal on February 16 featured 12 innovators and entrepreneurs in the field of aging services who are having “the biggest impact on the future of retirement” in America. One-third of the “change agents” singled-out for honor are affiliated with UMBC’s Erickson School, including school founder John Erickson, faculty member Bill Thomas and a prominent student and a guest-instructor in the school’s new graduate program.
In an Encore-section cover story, “12 People Who Are Changing Your Retirement,” The Wall Street Journal identified the nation’s leading pioneers who are “shaping the way Americans will live, work and play in later life.”
Four of those 12 pioneers are affiliated with UMBC’s Erickson School, which is becoming a national center for thought leadership in the fields of aging services, policy and research.
Erickson Retirement Communities Founder and Chairman John Erickson was featured for his pioneering work to shape the way Americans age. Erickson has launched several enterprises intended to establish a new standard in retirement living, including Retirement Living TV and The Erickson School at UMBC.
Erickson helped launch The Erickson School of aging, management and policy in 2004 with a $5-million commitment. With an explicit focus on preparing leaders for the 21st century, the School provides professional education, public policy leadership and applied research. The School offers a B.A. and M.A. in the Management of Aging Services. (MAgS).
An internationally-recognized authority on aging, Bill Thomas is a professor at the Erickson School and a leader in the culture change movement to promote elderhood as an honorable and valuable position in our society. Thomas is founder of the Eden Alternative, a philosophy and program that de-institutionalized nursing homes world-wide over the past 20 years. Most recently he developed the Green House, a radically new approach to long term care where nursing homes are torn down and replaced with small, home-like environments where people can live a full and interactive life. Read more about Thomas’ unique views on aging at his blog, www.changingaging.org.
John P. Stewart
As Executive Director of the Baltimore City Commission on Aging and Retirement Education, John P. Stewart is responsible for advocating, designing, funding and delivering services to the City’s 105,000 older adults. In the fall of 2007, Stewart enrolled in the first class of graduate students in the Erickson School’s MAgS program. Stewart is working on a blueprint to make city services such as health care, transportation and employment more receptive to the needs of older adults.
In the 1990s, Katherine Freund developed the Independent Transportation Network in Portland, Maine, to provide car rides to older adults who can no longer drive. She is now president of ITNAmerica, which has grown into a national organization that provides affordable, round-the-clock rides to thousands of older adults. Freund was tapped as a guest-instructor to help launch the Erickson School’s graduate program in the fall 2007.
Read the full Wall Street Journal story.
Watch John Erickson and Bill Thomas discuss the future of aging and The Erickson School.
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