Center for Long-Term Care Reform – Health & Medicine Policy Research Group

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For more information about this program please contact:

Wesley Epplin
Policy Director

Sandy Pastore
MSW, Health and Aging Policy Organizer

Brigitte Dietz
MPH, Health and Aging Policy Analyst

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Center for Long-Term Care Reform

  • Overview


The Center for Long-Term Care Reform promotes equitable aging within communities for all Illinoisans at all ages.

The Center works toward a just society that enables people to age well across the entire life course and an equitable system of long-term services and supports so that people can live according to their own goals and values, without exploitation or unmet needs. The Center advocates for caregiving that supports both the needs and rights of older persons and caregivers.

Founding: Health & Medicine’s Center for Long-Term Care Reform was founded in 2001 to focus on the unmet health, social, and physical care needs of older persons and disabled people. At that time, the Center’s focus was on reducing the number of people who were in nursing homes, while also ensuring essential community supportive services for activities of daily living for those wishing to live with families and remain integrated within their communities.

The work of the Center for Long-Term Care Reform is a critical part of Health & Medicine’s focus on both health, considered in the broadest sense, and on access to high-quality healthcare, with a special emphasis on the health and social safety nets, including policies, programs, and institutions that advance health equity. The Center’s work has evolved over the years and you can read about our current initiatives below.

Current Initiatives: 

Illinois Aging Together: A Statewide Movement for Aging Equity 

The main current initiative of the Center for Long-Term Care Reform is Illinois Aging Together, a campaign for a strategic action plan on aging that seeks to reframe aging as a lifelong process that includes all of us, and to promote justice, momentum, meaning, and purpose as people age. Learn more and support the campaign at 

Why is this plan and reframing needed? Illinois’ population is aging. We are all aging all of the time and are impacted by the aging of our loved ones, friends, and neighbors. Older adulthood should be a time for joy, celebration, and fulfillment; however, due largely to a biased presumption that everyone has a nuclear family or family caregiver to help, many Illinoisans struggle with aging. Additionally, health inequities reduce quality of life and cut lives short. How can we activate our ingenuity to create better solutions for aging? What do we need to support equitable aging for all?

Illinois needs a strategic action plan for aging. We’re building the aging equity movement and we hope you’ll join!  

Nursing Home Research 

Health & Medicine founding board member and chair of the Center for Long-Term Care Reform Committee Michael Gelder is leading an ongoing comparative research study of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality in older adults throughout Illinois based on residential status in nursing homes vs. the community. Read more here. 

Gerontology Education for Aging Workforce Development 

Our approach to gerontology education for aging workforce development aims to stabilize and enrich the labor force working with older persons. Through embedded cross-sector educational programs, we aim to foster gerontological understanding and skillsets within high school curricula and create opportunities for gerontology infusion into the K-12 education system. We also seek to demonstrate career pathways for an economically secure gerontological workforce.

The Committee—made up of Concordia University Chicago Center for Gerontology, the Illinois Department on Aging, the Illinois State Board of Education, Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, and other community organizations—is developing an education-to-career pathway through a dual-credit High School-Community College Gerontology Program funded by the Perkins Act. Through robust collaboration and ongoing advocacy, the development of this cross-sector educational pilot has been included in Illinois’ new State Plan for Aging as a workforce solution. This work is made possible thanks to advocacy and development funding through Concordia University Center for Gerontology with Kott Foundation funds.


Thank you to our generous funders for supporting this work! 






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