LTC's 'diamond in the rough' elevated to center stage

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James M. Berklan
James M. Berklan

Eye-rollers might be inclined to snort at the thought of “just another” research center popping up. But they might want to have another think after Tuesday's big long-term care announcement.

The new LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass-Boston is remarkable for more than just having the temerity of putting an “@” in its title.

First, it's a leading provider association teaming with a respected academic establishment, not entirely unlike the American Health Care Association's pairing with Brown University deep thinkers.

The new entity builds off of LeadingAge's existing Center for Applied Research, more than doubling its capacity with UM-Boston's whitecoats on the roster.

“It was really my goal to grow our presence in applied research to influence policy and research,” LeadingAge CEO and President Katie Smith Sloan told me between appointments Tuesday. “Our center has been kind of a diamond in the rough, producing new knowledge all the time. But it was hard to figure out a path to grow it without some sort of affiliation.”

That path now leads through Beantown — ”an exciting way for us to go,” Sloan says.

She envisions the variety of research being performed to blossom. And it will be practical, actionable stuff, she promises.

“Our goal is not to produce research for research's sake, but rather to translate it to developing policy. It will be evidence-based, and on a much greater scale than in the past,” she asserts.

Various prestigious names were tossed around in Tuesday's declarations and press releases, but the one that popped out at me the most was Len Fishman. Yes, that Len Fishman, Sloan's predecessor twice removed.

He served as the president and CEO of what was then called the American Association of Homes & Services for the Aged for a short term before Larry Minnix's 15-year tenure. Minnix, of course, preceded Sloan.

Now the director of the Gerontology Institute at UMass-Boston, Fishman was “very much the instigator on his end,” along with LeadingAge's inimitable Robyn Stone, DrPH, in forming the new LTSS center, Sloan noted.

“He's moved around in circles aligned with LeadingAge and very much understands the provider perspective in this, and the goal that this becomes something of value to the provider community,” Sloan said. “Len gets that.”

In return, providers should get truly helpful toolkits, white papers and other actionable research to boost the profession.

Follow James M. Berklan @JimBerklan.


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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.