Patti Cullen headshot

Editor’s Note: McKnight’s Senior Living, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and McKnight’s Home Care are profiling the McKnight’s 2022 Women of Distinction honorees daily July 5 through Aug. 10. For additional McKnight’s Women of Distinction content, visit this page.

Patricia Cullen has worked for Care Providers of Minnesota since 1986. Since then she has earned extremely high levels of respect as an advocate and leader in the field of older adult services. 

Cullen, better known as Patti to friends and colleagues, started her career as a direct caregiver to people with disabilities. Eventually her professional journey took her into politics and management as she became CPM’s chief lobbyist, then vice president, and now president/CEO. She has a master’s degree in mass communication and political science and has been a certified association executive since 2006.

Officials in surrounding states look to her as a model of leadership in long-term care. Her wit and intelligence have earned her the respect of long-term care providers, as well as state and nationwide organizations as a result of her service to the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living. 

In the past two years in particular she has worked tirelessly on behalf of the senior care profession on topics of infection control and providing COVID weekly webinars.

She is a guiding force to congressional delegates, Minnesota legislators and policy makers within the Minnesota Departments of Health and Human Services. She is also a regular public speaker on Minnesota Public Radio, Star Tribune, Pioneer Press and local affiliates of NBC, CBS, and ABC. 

Exceptional achievements by Cullen are easy to find. She serves on a variety of state-based community boards in the healthcare and social services professions. She currently participates on nearly 10 boards and organizations, including the Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging, Alliance for Patient Safety (MAPS) Board, and AHCA/NCAL – to name only a few.

In 2018 she was awarded the Dutch Kastenbaum Outstanding Gerontologist by the The Minnesota Gerontological Society, which recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the lives of older persons and the field of aging throughout Minnesota.

But despite these great achievements, Cullen says she is proudest of her mentorship of young women.

“I have been fortunate to have a career that I love, working for and with long-term care professionals who are dedicated to quality care and service to seniors,” she explained.

The McKnight’s Women of Distinction program is jointly administered by McKnight’s Senior Living, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and McKnight’s Home Care. The program’s Diamond sponsor is PointClickCare. Silver sponsors include OnShift and PharMerica, and the Bronze sponsor is Reliant Rehabilitation. Table sponsors included Dreamscape, Gojo/Purell and Sound Physicians.

Visit these web pages to see lists of the 2022 honorees: Rising StarsVeteran VIPsHall of HonorLifetime Achievement Award and Spirit Awards.