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The University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology is introducing a new Master of Arts in Senior Living Hospitality. Beginning in the spring of 2020, this innovative program provides students with a comprehensive approach to aging, which includes examining older adults’ living environments, nutritional practices and care needs.

“Where and how we live has a big impact on health and wellbeing at any age,” said Pinchas Cohen, MD, dean of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. “This program leverages the world-renowned expertise at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology to equip senior living industry professionals with the skills and knowledge to help us remain healthy and happy as we get older. It also provides unique training in the fields of hospitality and the management of residential facilities, that are not currently part of gerontology degree programs.”

The number of Americans age 65 and over will nearly double to 98 million by 2060. And the number of Americans age 85 and older will more than double from 6.4 million in 2016 to 14.6 million by 2040, according to federal data.

Senior living industry researchers estimate that industry needs to attract 1.2 million employees over the next ten years in order to help care for the country’s aging population. Of these recruits approximately 350,000 will be new positions and another 900,000 will be needed to replace retiring professionals.

“Unlike their counterparts in the wider hospitality world, senior living communities are entrusted with meeting a range of needs related to older adults’ health and wellbeing,” said Maria Henke, senior associate dean of the USC Leonard Davis School.  “This program will give senior living leaders a greater understanding of the unique needs of older adults, along with the tools to bring improvements to their lives and to the industry as a whole.”

Emerging senior living leaders will also need to adapt to the changing consumer demands of the baby boom generation, which include housing options with exercise classes, specialty-food bistros, work spaces and multi-family units. They must also consider affordability and how the physical design of a space can enhance residents’ safety and wellbeing, particularly for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairments.

The USC Leonard Davis School’s program will incorporate hospitality instruction and address topics including managerial functions, nutrition, health and social engagement within a gerontological framework. Students have the option of attending the 46 unit program on campus or online. In a unique cross-university collaboration, the online program includes several courses from eCornell’s hospitality certificate programs, authored by leading faculty from Cornell University’s Hotel School.

“We are delighted to be able to integrate Cornell’s world class hospitality expertise into this new degree program,” said Paul Krause, CEO of eCornell and Associate Vice Provost for Online Learning at Cornell University.

The Master’s in Senior Living Hospitality is one of seven masters degrees programs offered by the USC Leonard Davis School. Other pioneering programs include the first PhD in the Biology of Aging; the Master of Science in Nutrition, Healthspan and Longevity, and the Master of Arts in Medical Gerontology.

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About the USC Leonard Davis School

Founded in 1975, the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology has long been recognized as the leading institution devoted to the research, education and practice of gerontology. Led by a world-renowned faculty, the school offers the most comprehensive selection of gerontology degree programs found anywhere, a variety of outstanding research opportunities, and a challenging yet supportive academic environment. As a school rooted in a world-class research university located in Los Angeles, the USC Leonard Davis School is home to today’s leaders in the field, as well as to tomorrow’s.

About eCornell

As Cornell University’s online learning unit, eCornell delivers online education to individuals and organizations around the world. Courses are personally developed by Cornell faculty with expertise in a wide range of topics, including hospitality, leadership and management, marketing, human resources and data analytics.  Students learn in an interactive, small cohort format to gain skills they can immediately apply in their organizations. eCornell has offered online learning courses, certificate programs and executive degree programs to over 130,000 students at more than 2,000 companies.

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