The Henrietta Schmoll School of Health meets tomorrow’s healthcare challenges today. Since its founding in 2007, the school has launched several initiatives to spark dialogue and collaboration within the healthcare community to solve the complex problems facing our nation’s healthcare systems.
In December 2008, an anonymous donor awarded the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health a generous legacy grant that will provide $1 million annually in perpetuity. The grant will allow the School of Health to embark on ventures to transform healthcare education in keeping with St. Catherine’s Catholic mission.
Building bridges in healthcare
Since its inception, the School has made it a priority to develop partnerships with healthcare organizations across the country to address healthcare issues such as inadequate primary care, lack of access to healthcare and the need to prepare a well-educated, patient-centered healthcare workforce while working to promote healthier communities.
Addressing workforce issues
Healthcare is one of the largest industries in the United States, providing 13.6 million jobs as of September 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The demand for healthcare workers continues to outpace supply — and educators are struggling to fill the gap. Practitioners today must be flexible, technologically literate and capable of providing care to a population diverse in age and cultural background.
There is a growing shortage of primary care physicians. The School of Health is in a position to help fill this gap by educating alternative primary care providers, such as nurse practitioners. A physician assistant program is currently in development.
The legacy grant will also allow the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health to increase its nursing enrollment by 170 students over the next five years.
Encouraging dialogue, promoting action
Through a variety of events, the School of Health brings healthcare leaders and the community at large together to discuss issues and take action.
“Hazardous to Your Health,” a six-part speaker series featuring physicians and other providers from across the region, explored inequalities in access to healthcare. The series, which began in August 2009, was co-sponsored by Physicians for a National Health Program.
The School of Health also brings leaders from public and community health programs and major health systems, as well as leaders in health reform from business and the arts, to campus to discuss healthcare issues. Examples include HealthPartners CEO Mary Brainerd; David Page, retired president and CEO of Fairview Health Services; Blue Zones author Dan Buettner and documentary filmmaker Llewellyn Smith.
Bringing leaders together
The National Healthcare Summit, held in October 2008, featured over 100 leaders of the nation’s Catholic colleges, universities and healthcare systems, who met to address critical workforce and leadership development needs in Catholic healthcare. This historic meeting was the first such gathering of Catholic healthcare leadership.
Related Topic: National Healthcare Summit
Transforming healthcare through technology
The Henrietta Schmoll School of Health takes a leadership role in educating students to use advanced technology in healthcare practice and health information. Simulation puts students in hands-on, real-time situations to learn and practice treatment options of complex cases under the guidance of faculty members. Students learn to use and manage electronic records through coursework and clinical education.
Online courses are available in many programs within the School and online degree programs are in development, with St. Catherine poised to become one of the first universities to offer an online post-baccalaureate nursing program. Online learning tools at St. Catherine are expected to grow by 30 percent in the next three years.