A Phenomenal Experience: Video Transcript

Anthony Williams (BA Psychology, Miami, 2010; MGS Gerontology, Miami, 2012) [Project Manager with Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices]: I'm responsible for overseeing the startups of multiple skilled nursing and rehab communities across the state. These skilled nursing and rehab communities are a new, innovative model of nursing care where we take the institution out of a nursing home and essentially make it more like a home. So, instead of having 150 elders to care for each day, you have 10 elders in each house, in a small cul-de-sac of houses. So, on a day-to-day basis, I work to get those up and running operationally. I work with our human resources team to develop a staffing plan and get everybody on board who needs to be on board

My favorite aspect of my role as project manager with Otterbein is seeing something emerge out of nothing. I have essentially been brought on board when there was nothing at the sites where these small houses are except a pile of dirt. So as we see these communities emerge over time into something that will help our elders throughout the end of their life, it's just a phenomenal experience.

My current job, the road to it really started at freshman orientation here at Miami. I recall sitting with my mom over at Shriver Center looking at my course options for freshman year, and one of those courses was Introduction to Gerontology. Now, at the time, I didn't really know what gerontology was, but it sounded like an interesting course. So I signed up for it. It was part of the Miami Liberal Education/Miami Plan Program. So I took that course and I fell in love with the subject and decided upon my senior year that I wanted to pursue further education in it and kind of make it into my career.

While I was doing my Master's in Gerontology here, I had the opportunity to get the gerontology piece and long-term care piece from Scripps [Gerontology Center], while at the same time, working with Miami's MBA program over at the Farmer School to get some business training. So it was a really good combination to be able to take the gerontology aspect as well as the business aspect and merge those.

Working with the Scripps faculty here and staff in the gerontology department, I kind of came to this idea to look at quality of life and quality-of-care measures. Now, today, kind of the big quality-of-care database is with the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. They publish these five-star rating systems that essentially rate every nursing home across the state and country on a five-star scale that looks at staffing, various quality measures, and health inspection scores. But what they don't look at is how consumers and their families view nursing homes, those quality-of life-aspects. There should be a resident and consumer satisfaction component in the five-star ratings. So, after I graduated, Bob [Applebaum] was contacting me saying, "You know, Anthony, you should really pursue this. People are going to want to know about this." So working with him and Jane [Straker], we were able to get it down to a format that could be published, and we submitted it for publication and now it's in this great journal.

Miami's liberal arts program really facilitates critical thinking in your day-to-day life. Coming into Miami, I was your typical freshman thinking, you know, "Why do I have to study different humanities when I want to focus on this one thing?" I came in wanting to do something in healthcare; I was planning to major in biology and go to med school. But having that opportunity to pursue different options, I discovered something that I fell in love with and eventually chose as my career path.

[July 2014]