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Dr. Bill Thomas, Innovative Authority On Aging, Offers Lecture At Erickson School On Nov. 9

Developer Of The “Eden Alternative” And “Green House” Approach To Long-Term Care To Deliver 7 P.M. Lecture

Dr. Bill Thomas, an international authority on later life and eldercare, will deliver a talk, “What Are Old People For?” at The Erickson School on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.

Thomas has been long recognized as an innovator in formulating approaches to long-term care. Thomas has brought plants, dogs, cats and birds into nursing home facilities to share with patients. This unique approach, known as the Eden Alternative, shifted attention toward enhancing the emotional well-being of residents.

Thomas is focused now on a new endeavor, the Green House Project. With a five-year, $10 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, he is developing a plan to replace more than 100 nursing homes in the United States with groups of smaller homes. Each will house eight to ten residents in private rooms. The grant will result in the creation of Green House projects in all 50 states.

The lecture will take place on the 7th floor of the Albin O. Kuhn Library. To RSVP and for further details, please contact The Erickson School toll-free at 1-877-853-0439 or e-mail Kristanna Jones at krista@umbc.edu.

Recently, U.S.News & World Report described Thomas as a “revolutionary” thinker whose “startling common-sense ideas and his ability to persuade others to take a risk” bring critically needed approaches to the science of aging.

“Bill Thomas is a pioneering thinker who inspires legions of people who have committed their study and careers to the business and science of aging,” said Dr. J. Kevin Eckert, dean of The Erickson School. “We know that his lecture will be another inspiring evening and are delighted to present it at The Erickson School.”

Thomas graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1986, and he was selected by the Mead Johnson Foundation as one of the top Family Medicine residents in the country during his three-year residency at the University of Rochester. He earned board certification in Family Medicine in 1992 and added a certificate in Geriatrics in 1994. Thomas also maintains a part-time appointment as Assistant Clinical Professor in Family Medicine for Upstate Medical Center.

Thomas is the recipient of a three-year fellowship from the global nonprofit organization Ashoka, which searches the world for individuals with unprecedented ideas for community change. He won the America's Award, established by Norman Vincent Peale and sometimes called "The Nobel Prize for Goodness" in 1997.

Thomas has published six books, including "What Are Old People For? How Elders Will Save the World." Named 2005 “Book of the Year” by the American Medical Writers Association, it explores the virtues concealed within the necessity of aging. Thomas also recently authored "In the Arms of Elders: A Parable of Wise Leadership and Community Building."

His books "Learning from Hannah" and "LifeWorth Living" explore the concept of the Eden Alternative and its impact on long-term care. Thomas is currently working on a book about the relationship between aging, health and healing.

About The Erickson School:

The Erickson School was established at UMBC in April 2004 with a $5 million commitment from John Erickson, CEO and founder of Erickson. The school focuses on credit and non-credit professional education, research, and policy in aging services and care.

UMBC, an Honors University in Maryland, is a four-year, public research university that is home to leading experts on aging who are active in research, education, and service in the field of gerontology. It is one of a handful of universities in the nation to offer a Ph.D. in Gerontology.

More information online at:

Posted: October 17, 2006, 12:00 PM