Elevating the Post-Acute and
Long Term Care Profession

Pioneer Award 2010 - Susan Gilster, Ph.D.

Susan Gilster, Ph.D. Pioneer awards The OHCA Pioneer Award is designed to recognize Ohioans influential in the development and advancement of long-term care programs, education, professionalism or ideals. The Awards honor the commitment of these individuals to excellence in long-term care services.


Dr. Susan Gilster is a leader known for creating innovative health care projects here and abroad. Susan was responsible for the development of the Alois Alzheimer Center, which opened in 1987 as the first free-standing dementia facility in the United States. Dr. Gilster serves as a practitioner, educator, researcher and consultant, and has published over 75 articles. She has conducted well over 100 national and international presentations in 12 countries, focusing on Alzheimer’s disease care and programs, leadership, organizational development, and employee satisfaction and retention.

Guided by her service-driven philosophy, Dr. Gilster developed a successful, transformational leadership model promoting person-centered care for residents, families and staff. Dr. Gilster published her innovative models in two books: “Changing Culture, Changing Care: SERVICE First,” and “A Way of Life: Developing an Exemplary Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Program.” Her most recent publications include the cover story for Long-Term Living Magazine, a series of articles for the professional journal CareManagement, and co-author of an ongoing biweekly column entitled, “Ask the Staffing Experts” for the Long Term Living website.

Dr. Gilster is a volunteer professor for the University of Cincinnati and a preceptor to students from regional and national universities, spearheading an education program that benefits approximately 200 students annually.

Under her leadership the Alois Alzheimer Center and staff have earned numerous deficiency free surveys and several state and national awards, including many OHCA Personal Excellence awards and the AHCA/NCAL Steps I and II Quality Improvement Awards.

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With Support from OHCA Champion Partners