× You are not currently logged in. To receive all the benefits our site has to offer, we encourage you to log in now.

2001 Changemaker: William H. Thomas, M.D

Dr. Bill Thomas is a man who has followed his heart and created an organization that has bettered the lives of thousands of people living and working in nursing homes.


Believing that "it can be different," he started an organization called The Eden Alternative, whose purpose is to teach us to see nursing home environments as habitats for human beings rather than facilities for the frail and elderly. He believes that we must learn what Mother Nature has to teach us about the creation of vibrant, vigorous habitats.


The Eden Alternative shows us how companion animals, the opportunity to give meaningful care to other living creatures, and the variety and spontaneity that mark an enlivened environment can succeed where pills and therapies fail. Since 1990, more than 400 nursing homes in the U.S. have been "edenized."


The man whose vision, compassion, and personal commitment is at the core of the Eden Alternative is a Harvard-trained M.D., who continues to practice medicine when he's not speaking, teaching, or milking goats.

Dr. Bill and his wife, Judy, have built a lodge and retreat center on their farm in upstate New York where they now offer weekend learning experiences for healthcare and design professionals.


He continues to push the envelope of change, and is even exploring some new ways of designing environments for the elderly that are radically different than the traditional nursing home model.