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Heather O'Banion, a Campbellsville native and graduate of the Western Kentucky University health administration master's program, recently attended the National Emerging Leadership Summit for Healthcare Administrators in Aging Services in Washington, D.C.
WKU Center for Gerontology instructor Keith Knapp also attended.
O'Banion, a 2003 graduate of Taylor County High School and 2007 graduate of Campbellsville University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, is the daughter of Mark and Janet Bradley of Mannsville and Butch and Donna Owens of LaGrange. She is the granddaughter of Christine Gabehart of Mannsville and is married to Shane O'Banion.
"It was just enlightening to see people from my generation that are very engaged in long-term care services," O'Banion said. "I was in a room full of young leaders with the same excitement and passion that I have for this field."
The summit provides an opportunity for Generation X and Generation Y leaders in the field of health and aging services administration to engage in discussions of current best practices with other leaders, meet with representatives of key professional organizations, gain an inside perspective on the legislative process and explore solutions for attracting and retaining other Generation X and Y leaders.
This year's summit included experts from the American College of Health Care Administrators, the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards, LeadingAge and the American Health Care Association.
NELS is limited to about 30 participants and participation is highly competitive. O'Banion is the second WKU graduate and Kentucky resident to attend.
O'Banion is currently employed as the executive director/administrator of Christian Care Communities in Bowling Green and has been a licensed nursing home administrator for almost four years.
While attending NELS, O'Banion and Knapp visited the state capitol and met with U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky.; John Yarmuth and Andy Barr and their staff and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., discussing issues in long term care. O'Banion said the theme of this year's summit was to focus on the public image of leadership careers in long term care and aging service and consistency between states for individual licensure requirements.
The summit is targeted toward healthcare administrators in aging services who have typically been in the field for fewer than 10 years and have positions in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities and rehabilitation hospitals.