UNMC-UNK complex is a game changer for rural health care

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Healthcare education and access for central and western Nebraska took a giant step forward April 4 when ground was broken at a ceremony for a new University of Nebraska project: The Health Science Education Complex at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

The collaboration between UNMC and UNK will take the form of a $19 million building on the west edge of UNK’s campus, and comes after more than two years of discussion and planning, development of programs and fundraising. The complex will open in June 2015.

The vision of UNK and UNMC is to build a nationally recognized learning and research environment that promotes education in rural primary care, generates scientific discoveries and new knowledge about rural health, and enhances strategies to promote high quality primary care in rural communities by creating academic and community partnerships around rural health problems and opportunities.

Called a “game-changer” by UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen, the UNMC-UNK building will be located on the west edge of UNK’s campus.

The UNMC School of Allied Health Professions will expand its educational programs for physician assistants, physical therapists, clinical laboratory scientists, radiographers and diagnostic medical sonographers. The UNMC College of Nursing will expand its master’s programs for nurse practitioners and its bachelor’s in nursing programs.

“We are making history,” said UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D. “There are only a very few moments in life when you get to look around yourself and to think about the fact that we’re really making history together.”

Some facts about the Health Science Education Complex:

50,000 square feet

7 programs: nursing and graduate nursing (expanded from current), physician assistants, physical therapy, clinical laboratory science, medical nutrition, radiography, diagnostic medical sonography (allied health professions)

Projected additional full-time personnel: 25

Total full-time personnel: 46

Annual economic impact: $30.5 million (study by UNO Center for Public Affairs Research)

Numbers of students in Nursing: 172 (includes 132 new/additional students)

Numbers of students in Allied Health Professions: 132 (all new/additional)

Total students in undergraduate and graduate programs: 300

Number of classrooms: 7

Number of laboratories: 5 (anatomy, rehabilitation, musculoskeletal, assessment, task training)

Number of simulation areas: 14 (4 clinical exam rooms, 4 control rooms, 3 simulation rooms, changing room, debriefing, energized radiography)

If you would like to help the new complex achieve its goals, please consider giving to the Building a Healthier Nebraska UNK Health Sciences Education Complex Fund or to the College of Nursing and the School of Allied Health Professions Kearney Fund for Excellence or the or contact the foundation at 800-432-3216.

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