Vivian (V.) Tellis-Nayak, PhD and Mary Tellis-Nayak, RN, MSN, MPH

The Illinois Pioneer Coalition is proud to create the Vivian and Mary Tellis-Nayak scholarship opportunity

Applications are generally accepted for our yearly scholarships between January – March.  Winners are announced in the spring.

Mary, a nurse by trade, has focused the majority of her professional career on promoting the importance, of all the nursing roles in long-term care, with a focus on direct care givers. She authored several groundbreaking sets of standards for dementia care units, sub-acute care, and person-centered care. Vivian, a renowned long-term care researcher, quantitatively proved that Directors of Nursing (DONs) and Nursing Home Administrators (NHAs) are directly related to skilled nursing care center quality performance. He also provided the first quantitative proof that quality in skilled nursing centers has a positive impact on financial revenue and that DON and NHA turnover are the single best predictors of poor quality and revenues. Together, they authored “Return of Compassion to Health Care” and continue to advocate nationally promoting person centered care, performance improvement and challenging everyone to recognize the value of compassion in healthcare


The Illinois Pioneer Coalition advocates and facilitates deep system change and transformation in our culture of aging.

To achieve this, we

  1. Create communication, networking, and learning opportunities;
  2. Promote transformation in practices, services, public policy and research;
  3. Provide access to resources and leadership.


The Pioneer Coalition is committed to an authentic person-directed model in long-term care for all older adults.­

To this end, the Illinois Pioneer Coalition offers scholarships for people who are currently employed in a Long-Term Care Community (either full-time or part-time) who is looking to further their education in healthcare. The applicant must be committed to advancing your education with a focus on caring for those living in long-term care (e.g. in a degree program or certification)

The Illinois Pioneer Coalition will award two $1000.00 scholarships to individuals to further their education in the long-term care profession.

Applications are generally accepted for our yearly scholarships between January – March.  To be considered for an award, submit your application by April 30, 2024.  Winners are announced in the spring. 

To submit an application, including Letter of Recommendation, email to: stebertraining78@yahoo.com