TheUniversity of Nebraska at Kearney has received a $1 million leadership giftfrom Good Samaritan Hospital and Catholic Health Initiatives to supportbuilding a new $19 million Health Science Education Complex on its campus.
The new complex will providestate-of-the-art facilities that will enable UNK and the University of NebraskaMedical Center to expand enrollment opportunities in the existing nursingdivision by nearly 50 percent and begin offering professional programs inphysical therapy, physician assistant, radiography, diagnostic medicalsonography, and clinical laboratory science on the UNK campus.
"We have always valued ourrelationship with Good Samaritan Hospital, and this gift further strengthensour ties," said UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen.
Kristensen also expressedappreciation for the hospital's pledge to provide expanded internship,preceptorship and clinical rotation opportunities for students in the newKearney-based allied health programs.
"We are truly grateful for thisgift and pledge, both of which speak volumes about Good Samaritan Hospital andCatholic Health Initiatives' commitment to UNK, the Kearney community and torural healthcare in central Nebraska," he said.
Mike Schnieders, president ofGood Samaritan Hospital, said the hospital is pleased to be a philanthropicpartner in this critical project for Kearney and the region.
"In the spirit of its founders,Good Samaritan serves not only as a medical facility, but also as a communitypartner," he said. "Supporting health science education is an especially goodfit, as the hospital is called by its mission to devote funding and resourcesto programs and services that improve the health of the communities we serve."
UNK must raise $3 million inprivate funds for the new facility to access $15 million appropriated for theproject by the Nebraska Legislature within the Building a Healthier Nebraskainitiative, a bill sponsored last year by Sen. Galen Hadley and supported byGov. Dave Heineman. While the $3 million amount is necessary to access statefunds, UNK will raise an additional $1 million to fully fund the $19 millionconstruction project.
Brian Hastings, president andCEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation, said the gift from Good SamaritanHospital and Catholic Health Initiatives provides UNK with critical momentumfor its current fundraising initiative.
"New generations of healthcareprofessionals and the countless people they will help are certain to benefitmost from this gift," Hastings said. "Their generosity and leadershipdemonstrate a strong interest in helping us reach our goals for this UNK healthscience education initiative, which is incredibly important to Nebraskans."
In announcing the gift,Chancellor Kristensen said, "The impending critical shortage of healthcareprofessionals has been well documented, and rural areas are especiallyvulnerable. This initiative will improve healthcare, especially in ruralNebraska, meet work force needs, create high-quality jobs and expandeducational opportunities for young people in our state."
Bob Lanik, senior vice presidentof operations for Catholic Health Initiatives in Nebraska, said the donation isjust one example of how Catholic Health Initiatives is committed to Kearney andto Nebraska.
"Innovative partnerships likethis one create opportunities that keep needed healthcare services close tohome while bolstering our economy through job creation," Lanik said. "This workwill prepare our system and our region for the next era of healthcare. We arehonored to be a part of an important endeavor to train future healthcareprofessionals."
Although the final location ofthe new complex has not been determined, Kristensen said it will likely beconstructed on the west side of the UNK campus. With approximately 30,000square feet, it will be constructed to enable possible future expansion.Initial building plans include a clinical simulation laboratory, anatomy andphysiology laboratories, and technology for distance education, all dedicatedto nursing and allied health programs.
The Building a HealthierNebraska initiative also involves creating a $370 million Cancer Center Campusin Omaha and a new Veterinary Diagnostic Center in Lincoln. As with UNK'shealth science education project, these projects also require significantprivate support to receive the state allocations.
Established by the Sisters ofSaint Francis in 1924, Good Samaritan Hospital is a 287-bed regional referralcenter in Kearney, Neb. A member of Catholic Health Initiatives, Good Samaritanprovides specialty care to more than 350,000 residents of central Nebraska andnorthern Kansas. It boasts Nebraska's first accredited Chest Pain Center, aLevel II trauma center featuring AirCare emergency helicopter transport,advanced orthopedic care, comprehensive neurosurgery and a nationallyaccredited cancer center among its many unique tertiary care services.
Catholic Health Initiatives is anational nonprofit health system with headquarters in Englewood, Colo. Thefaith-based system operates in 18 states and includes 80 hospitals; 40 long-termcare, assisted- and residential-living facilities; two communityhealth-services organizations; two accredited nursing colleges; and home healthagencies. In fiscal year 2012, CHI provided more than $715 million in charitycare and community benefit, including services for the poor, free clinics,education and research. With total annual revenues of more than $10.7 billionand approximately 86,000 employees, CHI ranks as the nation's second-largestfaith-based health system.
The University of NebraskaFoundation is an independent, nonprofit organization raising private gifts tosupport the University of Nebraska for more than 75 years. In 2012, donorsprovided the university with $165 million for scholarships, medical and otherresearch, academic programs, faculty and buildings. All foundation funds aredonor designated. The foundation's comprehensive fundraising campaign, theCampaign for Nebraska, has raised more than $1.2 billion for the university andconcludes in 2014. For more information, visit campaignfornebraska.org.