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WKU Graduate Student Wins ACHCA's McConnell Scholarship

wku red redBOWLING GREEN, Ky. (11/25/13) – Darla Hayden of Henderson, a student in Western Kentucky University’s Master of Health Administration program, is one of two recipients of the W. Phillip McConnell Scholarship from the American College of Health Care Administrators.

Hayden will use the $1,500 scholarship to attend the 48th Annual ACHCA Convocation and Exposition in Las Vegas in April. She is the first WKU student to receive the scholarship or attend the convocation.

Nearly 400 administrators, executives and other leaders in long term care will gather April 5-9 to network, learn, earn continuing education and celebrate award winners. In addition, there is a student poster exhibition and education sessions that focus on a variety of topics to include marketing, mentoring, leadership and more.

“I am eager for April roll around so I can attend ACHCA’s 48th Annual Convocation and Exposition,” Hayden said. “Dr. Dana Burr Bradley and Mrs. Melanie Eaton have both encouraged and helped me reach for my life goals in long term care and working with older adults. I feel very honored to have been chosen as a recipient of the W.P McConnell Student Scholarship.”

As part of the application process, Hayden was required to describe her intentions for a future in long term care administration, to include her goals, what drives her to excel and what she believes her contributions will be to the profession. The following is an excerpt from her application: “A profound lady by the name Harriet Tubman once said ‘Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars and change the world.’ ”

Dr. William N. Mkanta, Master of Health Administration Program Director and Associate Professor in the Department of Public Health, said: “Winning this scholarship is such a great honor to the Master of Health Administration program at WKU. It represents Ms. Hayden’s and WKU’s commitment to excellence in future leadership roles in long-term care. Through this scholarship, Ms. Hayden will bring regional and eventually national spotlight to our Long-term Care Administration Certificate Program. We feel very privileged to be part of the supportive American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA) family in this process.”

Administered by the Ohio Chapter of the American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA), the W. Phillip McConnell Scholarship Fund sponsors two students to attend the Spring ACHCA Convocation. One of the students receiving the McConnell Scholarship must live in Ohio while the other student is selected from the pool of applicants. Each recipient will be provided up to $1,500 toward one full conference registration, travel and lodging to the ACHCA national meeting.

“This scholarship is being generously donated from the W. Phillip McConnell Scholarship Fund in memory of Phil McConnell, a past president of the Ohio ACHCA Chapter who devoted his life to the advancement of long term care administration and the efforts of ACHCA,” said Cydney M. Bare, director of the District 3 ACHCA Chapter, ACHCA Fellow and Certified Nursing Home Administrator (CNHA). “The Ohio Chapter of ACHCA believes that the quality of care and life in a nursing center begins with the Administrator’s quality of education. Ms. Hayden expressed a true passion for working in long term care, specifically with those needing memory care services, and we believe she has a bright future in this profession.”

Founded in 1962, the American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA) is the only professional association devoted solely to meeting the professional needs of today's long term care administrators and executives. Focusing on advancing leadership excellence, ACHCA provides professional education and certification to administrators from across the spectrum of long term care. For information about ACHCA and the 2014 Convocation Student Poster Exhibition, contact the national office at (202) 536-5120 or visit www.achca.org.

For information about WKU’s Master of Health Administration, contact Dr. William Mkanta at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

For information about the Long-term Care Administration Certificate Program, contact Melanie Eaton at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (270) 745-5854.

For information about WKU Aging and the Center for Gerontology, contact Dr. Dana Burr Bradley at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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