Health and Aging Services Leadership

Senior citizens eating in a nursing home cafeteria talking to an administrator

Prepare for a successful career in health services and senior living.

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Bellarmine's Health and Aging Services Leadership programs prepare students to pursue a wide range of rewarding career opportunities as leaders in the delivery of healthcare, senior living, or aging services, or to continue their formal education in graduate programs in health care administration, public health, health sciences, business, informatics, or communications. 

“Caring for our seniors is perhaps the greatest responsibility we have. Those who walked before us have given so much and made possible the life we all enjoy.” — Senator John Hoeven

Career Opportunities

One of the most prominent demographic shifts anticipated across the United States – and throughout the industrialized world – over the next 10-15 years is an unprecedented growth in the number of older adults, both in pure number and percentage of the population. Organizations providing long-term care, senior living services, and aging care and services that address this demographic shift are expected to grow exponentially, as are companies that supply goods and services to those providers and public service agencies that regulate them. The professions within aging care, senior living services, and public health require well-prepared leaders who can effectively plan, organize, and direct organizations to achieve strategic goals and advance their respective missions.

  • Administrator or Executive Director: Long-Term Care, Post-Acute Care, Home- and Community-Based Services, and Seniors Housing 
  • Organizational Leadership: Finance, Human Resources, Marketing and Public Relations, Environmental and Risk Management, Health Informatics
  • Public Sector: Government Regulatory Agencies and Public Policy Groups
  • Sales: Vendors of Pharmaceuticals, Goods, and Services to Healthcare Providers
  • Career Development Center

Academic Pathways

Completing the requirements for any of the three majors offered by this department will equip students with a strong liberal arts undergraduate education as a life foundation, guided by ethics, critical thinking and accountability. The health services core consists of nine courses (27 credit hours) that together provide a curricular framework of interdisciplinary courses in business, communications and informatics, health sciences, and public and global health policy that meets individual student learning needs and career interests.

The Bachelor of Arts in Aging Studies focuses on aging across the lifespan, including physical and cognitive changes that occur over time, and contains at least four courses (12 credit hours) of electives within the major. Students explore topics related to health and aging leadership, workforce, social justice and health care access disparities, physical and cognitive aging, health care finance and service trends, health care policymaking, and complete an experiential learning component (3-credit hour internship at an approved site).

The Bachelor of Science in Senior Living Leadership emphasizes the growing post-acute care segment of health care, with additional required courses and electives addressing accounting, economics, gerontology, regulatory compliance, business and legal environments, quality improvement, facilities and program design, human resources, and organizational behavior and leadership. Instruction will be grounded in the domains identified by the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB) and included in its accreditation standards for academic programs in long term care administration: Customer Care, Supports, and Services; Operations; Environment and Quality; and Leadership and Strategy. Students also complete an experiential learning component (5-credit hour internship at an approved provider site or multiple sites).

The Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration builds on the academic requirements included in the BS Senior Living Leadership major, adding in the final semester a comprehensive didactic review, plus the experiential learning requirement for this major is 1,000 contact hours (10 credit hours completed at an approved provider site or multiple sites). Completing the requirements of this major qualifies a graduate to take the licensing examination required by NAB (recognized in 50 states plus Washington, DC and US Territories) to operate a nursing home or skilled nursing facility (and, in a growing number of jurisdictions, other types of post-acute care services).

Department of Health and Aging Services Leadership: Minors

The minors offered by the Department of Health and Aging Services Leadership are designed to further prepare students for the dynamic demands of a health care careers. Recent surveys indicate that nearly 20% of employees in the United States, as well as in Louisville, are employed in some sector of health care. Louisville is also the corporate headquarters for 10 major health care companies. Regardless of your major, you may find yourself working for a company with a health care focus. The following minors augment several majors from various academic departments at Bellarmine, including business administration, accounting, anthropology, English, finance, fine arts, psychology, communication, nursing, respiratory therapy, medical laboratory science, biology, sociology, and more.

Minor in Health Care

Students pursuing the minor in Health Care will gain information on various aspects of the health care system in the United States. This minor is an excellent choice for students in business administration, psychology, biology, accounting, finance, communication, or sociology to gain greater familiarity with aspects of health care that may impact and inform a future career. Coursework for the minor includes six courses (18 credits) focused on the current health care system, health policy and legal issues in health care, health care finance, leadership in health care, quality improvement, and health care ethics.

Minor in Health, Culture, and Compassion

This minor requires students to analyze the intersections of health and the human condition through spirituality, ethics, law, culture, literature, and the arts. Studying health from this interdisciplinary perspective fosters compassion, resilience, cultural awareness, and innovation. The minor in Health, Culture, and Compassion prepares students for the dynamic demands of a patient-centered health care ecosystem, which requires professionals to absorb the bigger picture of health care and create sustainable options that are not one-size-fits-all. The program includes six courses (18 credits) covering health humanities, narrative medicine, health care ethics, health policy, gerontology, and cultural communication.

Minor in Health Care Leadership

For students who are already pursuing a major in a health care-related discipline, the minor in Health Care Leadership will complement discipline-specific coursework by adding essential knowledge about the broader health care field and business aspects of health care operations. This minor is ideal for students majoring in nursing, exercise science, respiratory therapy, medical laboratory science, or radiation therapy. Based on feedback from health care leaders, various organizations value additional knowledge when seeking to hire or promote candidates from within their companies. In the required seven courses (21 credits) for the minor, students will learn about business administration, health care law, health policy, quality improvement, health care marketing, financial considerations, and leadership.

Learning Outcomes

Students completing degrees in the Health and Aging Services Leadership department will:

  1. Analyze the historical context and current trends of the components, relationships and organizational principles that comprise the field of health and aging services and senior living;
  2. Synthesize contemporary best practices for including programmatic, financial, clinical, logistical, technological and social impact aspects in the developing and implementing an organization’s strategic plan
  3. Examine principles of sound executive leadership and business operations and their application to health and aging services or senior living
  4. Evaluate quality assurance and performance improvement opportunities and champion innovation in the care and services for older adults;
  5. Assess legal and ethical considerations inherent in the operation of an organization providing health and aging services or senior living; and
  6. Integrate federal, state and local laws, regulations and standards to the provision of health and aging services or senior living.

Faculty

Kevin Hansen, Ph.D., J.D., LL.M., Department Chair (email)
Jessica Hume, Ph.D., MFA (email)
Amy Tudor, Ph.D., MFA (email)
Anne Veno, DNP, MBA, RN (email)
Harry Dadds, J.D., LL.M. (email)
Jennifer Thomas, MBA, CPA, CHFP (email)
Chris Ekstrom, Department Assistant

Internships

Experienced leaders of highly regarded organizations in the field of health services and senior living serve as mentors, called “Preceptors,” during internships designed to familiarize students with such operations. Students can expect to gain first-hand experience by completing a departmental rotation, participating in relevant internal and external meetings, and performing an approved management project.

Student Organizations

The following groups are currently forming, and plan to start accepting memberships in the fall of 2018.

Accreditation

The Department of Health and Aging Services Leadership at Bellarmine University is one of only 15 programs in the nation accredited by the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB). NAB granted accreditation in 2021 for the Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration degree. Students with this degree are eligible to sit for the national nursing home administrator and assisted living licensure exams, and are eligible for licensure in the majority of states following graduation.

National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards Logo

Related Professional Organizations

Contact

For more information, contact Kevin Hansen, Ph.D., J.D., LL.M., Department Chair, at 502.272.8281 or khansen@bellarmine.edu.