Editor’s Note: McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News are profiling the McKnight’s 2021 Women of Distinction honorees daily July 6 through Aug. 6. To see the 2021 McKnight’s 2021 Women of Distinction awards ceremony, register for free here. For additional profiles of McKnight’s Women of Distinction, visit this page.
In recent years, the long-term care housing model gradually has been shifting in different ways. Much of that change is thanks to Susan Ryan.
Ryan began her career as a nurse and now is considered an educator, innovator and entrepreneur by colleagues. This combination of skills has helped set her up for success in her role as senior director of the Green House Project.
Since joining, Ryan has developed a focus on destigmatizing and deinstitutionalizing healthcare for older adults. GHP assists more than 300 long-term care providers in doing just that. She and GHP are looking to push senior healthcare out of its current state.
One of Ryan’s projects has been building a dementia care approach that refrains from segregating residents from the rest of the greater community. Providers that have instituted some of GHP’s suggested changes have reported fewer incidents stemming from dementia already.
Although Ryan already was a highly respected leader before 2020, the past year gave her a spotlight she never had had before. Her colleagues list the many different ways she was even more inspirational during the pandemic than past years. These included starting and hosting a podcast for GHP entitled “Elevating Eldercare.”
In the early days of the coronavirus public health crisis, Ryan spoke about the advantages of the GHP model in preventing the spread of contagions. Because of her, GHP’s conference was made virtual, and many long-term care providers began implementing changes; lives likely were saved, Ryan’s nominators noted.
Throughout the pandemic, Ryan continuously sought grants and funding to keep her entire team employed. She put GHP “on the map” more than it had been previously and was interviewed as an expert on senior living and care multiple times by reputable publications during the pandemic.
Colleagues agree: Ryan also has effectively led her company into an influential position — a position she hopes will allow her to continue destigmatizing quality healthcare for older adults.
The McKnight’s Women of Distinction program is jointly administered by McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. The program’s Diamond sponsor is PointClickCare, and the Roundtable Sponsor is Paycor.