Long-term care providers, associations, and colleges will make history when a variety of top leaders meet for the first time at a newly created academic symposium. Invitations to the event are being sent out this week, organizers said in announcing the event Monday.

The goal of the June gathering in Chicago is to create strategies and a pathway so that there will be 25 strong and well-recognized degree-granting programs in long-term care administration by the year 2025. Best estimates place the current number of robust college/university LTC administration programs at fewer than 10.

“If we can get the education world to see that there’s a market for this, and there is a way of doing this [educating more undergraduates], we can get a nice cadre of individuals coming into the profession,” said Steve Chies (pictured), symposium co-chair and the program manager for Long-term Care Administration at St. Joseph’s College in Maine. He’s also been a top executive with Benedictine Health System in Minnesota and once served as the chairman of the board for AHCA.

“This has the potential to be transformative,” he said of the summit, which will take place June 19-20 in downtown Chicago.

“Vision 2025: University and Senior Housing and Care Symposium” will focus on degree programs for future leaders in skilled nursing, assisted living, independent and home care. The invitation-only event will be limited to 150 key stakeholders. Approximately 60 will be university representatives, about 60 will be from provider organizations and the balance will be association executives and other key stakeholders.

“It’s a topic a lot of people have talked about, and nothing’s been done about it,” said Ed Kenny, the other summit co-chair and board chairman for Life Care Services (LCS). “We create a forum where colleges, providers and trade associations get together to say we need solid curriculum for seniors housing and care. That’s something that hasn’t been done before. This is a one-of-a-kind event.”

Associations involved include: the American Health Care Association, LeadingAge, the American College of Health Care Administrators, the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care, Argentum, the American Seniors Housing Association and the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards Foundation (NAB Foundation)

“I’m optimistic there will be many symposiums in the future,” Kenny said. “This won’t be just a one-and-done. There are many things limiting young grads from entering the profession. Not just a lack of curriculum, but also a point of entry, which requires the expansion of paid internships and practicums.”

Vision 2025 is being sponsored by Ziegler and the participating associations. It will feature at least seven major educational and discussion sessions during its two days.

The highly anticipated keynote speaker the first day will be Freeman Hrabowski III, the president of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

The symposium is an outgrowth of research by Douglas M. Olson, Ph.D., an assistant professor at University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and director for its Center for Health Administration and Aging Services Excellence (CHAASE) program. 

“The stars are aligned for providers, academic leaders and associations to solve this problem,” Olson told McKnight’s. “The resolve is definitely there, having all these committed organizations. The problems won’t be solved by any one of them alone.”