By Mary Hopfner-Thomas / Posted on March 7th, 2013
Being an advocate for others is what Marla truly enjoys. In fact, most of her professional career has been in roles where it has been her responsibility to make sure the voices of others are being heard. Elders have been her focus for the last 20 years.
Marla began her journey in Michigan as a Long Term Care Ombudsman for a nonprofit group called Citizens for Better Care. In her position she would visit with Elders to make sure they understood their rights, conducted education sessions for Skilled Nursing Home staff and participated in family and Elder councils. It was during this time that Marla heard a lecture by Eden Alternative and Green House founder, Dr. Bill Thomas, and within months the Ombudsman program partnered with the Eden Alternative. Marla became an Eden Specialist instructing her colleagues on the principles of the Eden Alternative. She implemented a Western Michigan Eden Support group for long term care communities.
Training and educating others about Elders became a passion for Marla. In Michigan over 2,500 participants learned about the Eden Alternative through her training programs. She developed educational materials and learning sessions for Area Agencies on Aging staff in Michigan and became a sought after speaker for long term care conferences.
For the past 5 years, Marla has focused all of her attention on culture change. Most recently she led the management of culture change work teams across five care communities in Utah employing 400 staff positions.
Marla is now sharing her skills and knowledge about Elders and culture change in THE GREEN HOUSE ® Project as a Project Guide.
- 20 years of experience in aging services—with a passion for culture change
- Recipient of the Eden Alternative 2010 Leadership Award
- Initiated curricula development for state-wide adult abuse and neglect prevention training and train the trainer sessions reaching over 7000 direct care staff in Michigan
- Eden Educator authorized to conduct Certified Eden Associate training, Eden leadership training, Eden at Home trainer certification, and Eden Alternative Neighborhood Guide workshops.
- Speaker/Presenter for numerous Utah Healthcare conferences
Marla thoroughly enjoys the outdoors, especially hiking on a good trail…whether in the sun or snow! Marla and her husband live in Utah and have 3 children.