Owensboro Health plans education facility for health professions

Google map locates business center where health-professions training facility will be housed.

Owensboro Health, which operates the largest hospital in Western Kentucky and owns two others in Greenville and Leitchfield, is planning to build a training facility for nurses and other medical professions.

The Commonwealth West Healthcare Workforce Innovation Center will be funded with $38 million in the state budget through the work of Rep. Suzanne Miles of Owensboro, chair of the House Republican Caucus, reports James Mayse of the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer.

President and CEO Mark Marsh said his hope is to have the center ready to start operating by January in the company’s business center at 25th and Frederica streets. It will train nurses, radiologists and professionals in fields such as behavioral health and community health, a press release said.

“Roughly, there area about 30 different disciplines” that will be taught at the facility, Marsh told the Messenger-Inquirer.

Courses will be taught by faculty members from nine colleges and universities, including Kentucky Wesleyan College and Brescia University of Owensboro, Owensboro Community and Technical CollegeWestern Kentucky University and the University of Louisville‘s nursing school.

Marsh said the institutions will create the curriculum with the advice of Owensboro Health, and students will get degrees from their parent universities. He said it could be possible for students to get degrees or certifications from more than one university.

The center will include both classroom space and “simulation labs,” where students will practice being in patient rooms and operating rooms, Marsh said.

He said the facility “will also offer mathematics and science instruction to high school students, and it can teach classes through remote learning to high schools across western Kentucky,” Mayse reports. “Marsh said the center will be a way for high school students to learn about health-care careers.”

“I think a lot of kids slip through the cracks,” he said. “It is imperative on us to create the enthusiasm and create the pathway” to a healthcare career.

The center is an effort to address anticipated shortages in healthcare workers. Its operations will be headed by Bart Darrell, former Kentucky Wesleyan president. “Darrell, an attorney who led KWC for five years until 2019, was named vice president” of the center, Mayse reports.

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