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LSU Alexandria to offer first elder care bachelor’s degree in state

Released: 04/25/2013

A Bachelor of Science in Elder Care Administration at LSU Alexandria was conditionally approved by the Louisiana Board of Regents on Thursday. The program, the first of its kind in the state of Louisiana, will begin this summer.

“We are pleased to receive approval of this degree program, which will be a tremendous asset not only to our region, but to the entire state of Louisiana,” said Dr. Haywood Joiner, chair of LSU Alexandria’s Department of Allied Health. “As the only undergraduate program in elder care administration in the state, we expect interest to be significant.”

The new program will prepare students to apply managerial principles to the administration of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day care centers, home health services, and other long-term care settings serving the elderly and disabled. The 120 credit hour interdisciplinary program will include instruction in the social and clinical aspects of aging, health care delivery systems, nursing home administration, assisted living administration, aging policy and government programs, ethics, business management, financial management, human resource management, marketing, and applicable laws and regulations.

Coupled with an internship experience, the program will fulfill the requirements for the Administrator in Training (AIT) program of the state of Louisiana Board of Examiners of Nursing Facility Administrators. The requirements for licensing as a nursing facility administrator include a bachelor’s degree, passage of the national examination (NAB) and the state standards exam, and an internship.

The new degree program has been fully supported by the industry as well as trade associations. Harold Gamburg, director of Magnolia Management which operates 26 nursing facilities in the state, was instrumental in the development of the program.

“This is huge. There is a big need for a program such as this,” he said. “There is a need for administrators throughout the state, which opens up a tremendous number of doors for students in this program.”

Gamburg, who has been in the nursing home industry for more than 40 years, said the students will graduate with the knowledge and skill level necessary to be successful in the business, and they will be able to start “at a very good salary.”

LSU Alexandria began offering a bachelor of general studies in elder care administration in Fall 2011. It is anticipated that those students will enter the new program and that the program should appeal not only to new students but particularly to current employees of nursing homes and retirement centers.

Dr. Barbara Hatfield, LSU Alexandria’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the new program emphasizes the importance of colleges and universities identifying a workforce need and addressing that need.

“We hear a lot of discussion today about the value of a college education,” Hatfield said. “LSUA is one of the most affordable four-year institutions in Louisiana, and all of our degree programs are aligned with workforce development needs in the region and the state. Elder care administration is an example of how LSUA, the region’s four-year institution, is working to meet local employer needs.”

The Louisiana Workforce Commission’s projection of top occupations through 2018 anticipates an annual need of 130 medical and health services managers. Much of the job growth is anticipated in the expansion of nursing home and long-term care facilities to care for the elderly population.

Gamburg, who attended LSU Alexandria in 1963, is “very optimistic about this program. It is going to be a great program for LSUA and the industry.”

For information about the program, contact LSU Alexandria’s Department of Allied Health at 318-473-6466 or hjoiner@lsua.edu.