Shelly Fritz
Shelly Fritz

Granger Cobb Institute for Senior Living Appoints Shelly Fritz as First Affiliate Faculty Member

By Sue McMurray

The Granger Cobb Institute for Senior Living understands that balancing optimal senior health care with sound business practices can be difficult. That’s why the institute invites faculty from across the university to contribute expertise and insights to help train business students who will become future senior living leaders.

Currently, there are 19 faculty members representing 7 different WSU colleges, 1 other academic institution, and 1 international country. They, along with industry partners, ensure content taught in the classroom reflects the actual needs and trends in the industry and help students build professional skills through work experiences in the senior living space.

Shelly Fritz, associate professor of nursing at WSU Vancouver, is the first to be officially appointed to the GCISL as an affiliate faculty member. Her 30-plus years in nursing and expertise with smart home health technologies support the GCISL’s focus on solving real-life problems in senior living communities.

“I look forward to helping produce compelling, top-rate, grounded, ethical leaders who are ready to creatively problem-solve in the rapidly expanding senior living industry,” said Fritz, “Cougs who will make positive impacts locally, regionally, nationally and globally.”

“We continue to connect faculty across the WSU system with each other and our industry partners for interesting research projects,” said Nancy Swanger, GCISL director and founder. “The word is out that something new and exciting is happening at Washington State University, and having a clinician with a business-savvy skillset on faculty will enhance student learning experiences.”

Leveraging expertise in smart-health technology to advance GCISL initiatives

Fritz recently was accepted to the second Cohort of the Betty Irene Moore Fellowship for Nurse Leaders and Innovators, a program recognizing early – to mid – career nursing scholars and innovators with a high potential to accelerate leadership in nursing research, practice, education, policy and entrepreneurship.

Her research focuses on smart health technologies that improve the care of older adults with chronic conditions by extending nursing triage into the home. This novel health monitoring and intervention system will employ environmental sensing, mobile app alerts and infographics, while also integrating family, friend and community health workers to support older adults who self-manage their health conditions, she said. She aims to extend older adults’ independence, reduce care costs and advance sensor-based data as a new type of evidence for evidence-based practice.

Inappropriate reliance on technology can lead to early dependence or even harm, Fritz said, and that senior living leaders must understand a balance is needed.

“I hope to contribute learning opportunities and new perspectives by including GCISL students in my project, which includes collaboration with Section 8 and other subsidized housing agencies,” she said.

Fritz brings years of experience leading collaboration between clinical and business teams and a wealth of research and development knowledge to the table, said Swanger. Her lengthy career provides plenty of first-hand stories and scenarios that make the course content more relevant, she said.