The Green House Project

Dr. Bill Thomas is the creator of the Green House project, a radically new approach to long term care where nursing homes are torn down and replaced with small, home-like environments where people can live a full and interactive life. In 2005, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced a five-year ten million dollar grant to support the launch of Green House projects in all fifty states. Please visit the official Green House web site at

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Cohoes, N.Y. Green House

Where To Live As We Age

By Susan Fine, Parade Magazine

Geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas, a professor at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, created The Green House Project with the hope of revolutionizing eldercare. In 2001, he wandered into the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation wearing a sweatshirt and Birkenstocks and shared his vision. The foundation was so impressed by his ideas it agreed to support a pilot program. Read more here.

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A place to call home

‘Green House’ Nursing Homes Expand as Communities Reinvent Elder Care

By Susan Dentzer, PBS News Hour

Susan Dentzer reports on the “green houses” project, which seeks to reinvent traditional nursing home care and create close-knit communities of patients and caregivers.

Streaming Video

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Mark, a "shahbaz," or caretaker, and elder Kent

Green House Projects Let Elders Age In Homes

Talk of the Nation with Neal Conan, April 2, 2009

In the first program of our ‘What Works’ series, we take a look at nursing homes.

Dr. Bill Thomas spent some time in traditional, institutional nursing homes, and he didn’t like what he saw. In an interview with NPR’s Joe Shapiro in 2005, he remarked, “I believe that in the nursing home every year, thousands and thousands of people die of a broken heart. They die not so much because their organs fail, but because their grip on life has failed.” Read more here.

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Wall Street Journal

Rising Challenger Takes on Elder-Care System

By Lucette Lagnado, Wall Street Journal

PRINCTEON, N.J. — In the spring of 2001, Bill Thomas, dressed in his usual sweat shirt and Birkenstock sandals, entered the buttoned-down halls of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. His message: Nursing homes need to be taken out of business. “It’s time to turn out the lights,” he declared.

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William Thomas | physician, farmer

The Greening of Aging

William Thomas | physician, farmer

By Caroline Hsu, U.S. News and World Report

It’s summer in upstate New York, the sun is shining, and it’s time to make hay. Bill Thomas, medical doctor, gentleman farmer, and deep thinker, heads out to take the year’s first cutting. His is a “mixed power” farm, which means that the tractor shares the load with a pair of massive 1-ton workhorses. Thomas takes the reins, clucks his tongue, and sets out across the field.

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