MOREHEAD, Ky.---Morehead State University President Wayne D. Andrews was joined by Gov. Steve Beshear along with local legislators and officials from the University of Kentucky and St. Claire Regional Medical Center today (Aug. 27) for the dedication of the Center for Health, Education and Research (CHER).
“Today’s ceremony is a giant step in bringing even greater credibility and prestige to health sciences programs at Morehead State. We could not have done this without our partners,” said Dr. Andrews. He spoke during the ribboncutting ceremony.
The four-story 90,000 square foot state-of-the art structure is located on the campus of St. Claire Regional Medical Center.
“This is an historic day for healthcare and public higher education in East Kentucky,” said President Andrews. “Opening such a facility as a partnership of a public regional university, a land grant university and a public, nonprofit hospital corporation is a first for Kentucky and perhaps the nation.”
The $30 million facility is the largest construction project in the history of MSU.
“I am pleased to join an exciting partnership – made up of Morehead State University, the University of Kentucky and St. Claire Regional Medical Center -- in the dedication of the Center for Health, Education and Research,” said Gov. Steve Beshear.
“This unique venture is an innovative approach to addressing this community’s needs while educating the next generation of medical professionals. And long term, the public-private partnership forged by these three entities will open many doors for graduates, as they will be trained in one of top medical facilities in the state. The Center for Health, Education and Research serves as an incredible example of our ability to find creative solutions to complex issues.”
Also speaking during the event were Mark J. Neff, president and CEO of St. Claire Regional, UK President Lee T. Todd Jr., State Reps. Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, John Will Stacy, D-West Liberty, and Sen. Walter Blevins, D-Morehead.
MSU also named an endowed chair along with a conference suite after Dr. Gerald DeMoss, dean of the College of Science and Technology. For his 42 years of service to the University as a faculty member and administrator.
The Center is considered the first such partnership involving a regional public university, a land grant university and a private, nonprofit hospital corporation.
A variety of programs will be housed in the new building; including MSU’s bachelor’s and associate degrees in nursing, associate degree in radiologic sciences, and bachelor’s degrees in computed tomography/magnetic resonance and diagnostic medical sonography.
The facility also will host St. Claire Regional’s family medicine clinic, family medicine residency, certified registered nurse anesthetist program and the Northeast Kentucky Area Health Education Center (AHEC).
The University of Kentucky’s College of Medicine will operate its Rural Physician Leadership Program, the third and fourth year of medical school, as well as the Center for Excellence in Rural Health, the Office of Research and Engagement for Advancing Community Health (REACH) and the Kentucky Homeplace Program.
CHER also will house the master’s degree in physician assistant studies of UK’s College of Health Sciences.
According to Andrews, Neff and Todd, a number of other program opportunities are being discussed with UK’s Colleges of Dentistry, Pharmacy and Public Health.
In terms of its impact on the region, the opening of CHER will result in the creation of a number of new, high paying jobs as educational programs and clinical programs are established and expanded.
The facility is expected to markedly improve the supply of urgently-needed healthcare professionals by allowing local students to train and remain near their hometowns to practice.
The significantly-expanded SCR Family Medicine Clinic will improve citizen access to primary care service. The new facility will serve as an important recruitment tool for Morehead State University and St. Claire Regional.
CHER has allowed the UK College of Medicine to develop its first regional site in Kentucky, enhancing the rural health research capacity in the region and providing medical students with the knowledge and experience necessary to work with civic and community leaders to improve the general health of their communities. These medical students, receiving rural clinical practice from the St. Claire Regional Medical Center and additional curricular content in business, information technology and health policy for a required Certificate in Health Systems Leadership from MSU's College of Business and Public Affairs, will gain the knowledge and training regarding community health to help solve the acute shortage of physicians in the rural areas of the Commonwealth.