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Illinois Pioneer Coalition

Contact Information

Becky Haldorson

Leslie Pedtke



In 1999, the Illinois Dept. of Aging State Long-term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP) and the Illinois Association of Ombudsmen used CMP funds to provide training on culture change values and principles to consumers, advocates, nursing homes and state surveyors. This infusion of culture change education coupled with the Oakbrook, IL being the site of the 2002 national Pioneer Network conference led to coalition planning meetings in August 2002 and April 2003. The first organizational meeting of Illinois Coalition was held in November 2003 and led by the ombudsman program, long-term provider associations and the Illinois Area Agencies on Aging.

We believe the principles, practices and philosophies of culture change are the tools that can transform the culture in which we care for our elders and the disabled, to one that is life affirming, satisfying and meaningful. The Illinois Pioneer Coalition was organized to provide long term care settings with the education and tools needed to effect deep culture change, thereby transforming long term care settings into real homes and improving the quality of life for individuals and staff in various settings throughout Illinois. The education provided shall be based on the philosophy, practices, and principles of person-centered and person-directed care designed to improve quality of life for elders and persons with disabilities in our society.

Organizational Structure

The Illinois Pioneer Coalition is a 501 (c)(3) organization with a Board of Directors currently comprised of representatives from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the State Long Term Care Ombudsman, PHI, nursing homes, assisted living, consultants and the Illinois Health Care Association. IPC is also a membership organization.


Revenue from our annual summit, membership dues, and grants from private foundations.

2014 Accomplishments

  • Began Phase 2 on The Retirement Research Foundation funded Consumer Education Project, "Your Way: How to find Dignity and Choice in Nursing Homes." This Phase of the Grant officially began in October 2014. The goal of Phase Two is to spread the materials created in Phase One throughout the state in a sustainable manner so that once the grant funding is diminished, the materials will still be used to help the consumer make an informed choice. One method for disseminating the information is to share the materials with those professionals who engage in conversations regarding the continuation of care with elders and their families as part of their work. Future plans for Phase Two of the Consumer Project include:
    • Translation of the materials into Spanish
    • Electronic publication of the Your Way! materials into Amazon, I-Tunes and Kindle
    • Educational sessions with the long term care providers
    • Printing of articles in trade magazines and elder focused publications
    • Continued Statewide education for providers and consumers through IPC Regional Coalitions and Health Fair engagement

  • The Illinois Pioneer Coalition's 11th Annual Summit, "Spread the Vision of Culture Change" was held Oct. 13-15, 2014 at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield, IL. We had 170 register through Constant Contact. This number does not reflect all of the speakers and vendors that attended the event. We totaled close to 225. We had an evening event dinner with filmmaker Scott Kircshenbaum. We charged $20 for this special event. Three 4 hour pre-conference intensives were offered with speakers Carmen Bowman, Glenn Blacklock and Anna Ortigara and Tameshia Bridges. We offered 23 breakout sessions and 3 keynote sessions. Keynote speakers were Steve Shields, Mary Tellis-Nayak and Anna Ortigara.
  • Continued to grow our successful membership program. Growth in our membership tends to happen around the time of educational offerings when members receive a discount on registration. Membership retention is a goal of IPC. Of the 38 current members (25 facility, 10 individual, 3 trade/vendor), 26 were renewals and 12 represent new members. This signifies that 68% of current members are repeat members.
  • Continued to work with Regional Coalitions throughout the state by co-sponsoring local educational events. Examples include: Activities-Personalized and Individualized, Reducing Anti-Psychotic Medications, Reflections of Alzheimer's Disease, No Money/No Excuses: Fundraising Ideas for Person Centered Care, Music and the Mind, Resident Rights and Protective Oversight, HIV and Older Adults, Organizational Goals and Person Centered Care, Life Stories, Fragile Families. 
  • Honored our Culture Change Champion of the Year at the Annual Summit. The honoree was Jean Harris RN, BSN-C, Director of Health Care at the Ruma Center in Red Bud, IL, a retirement community for the members of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ religious community. 
  • Continued to maintain an active Speaker's Bureau. This information is available on our website for anyone that is looking for a speaker for a local event. 
  • Increased communications with individuals that are interested in culture change through a schedule of notifications through Constant Contact.
  • Diversified our Board of Directors with the goal of having representation from several types of elder care communities and the Department of Public Health.