Shenandoah University and Inova will collaborate to bring to Northern Virginia medical education programs designed to grow and strengthen the regional workforce. The partnership will offer graduate programs in occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT) and physician assistant (PA) studies at the university’s Northern Virginia Campus, near Inova Loudoun Hospital in Loudoun County, Va.
The university, which currently offers programs in nursing and respiratory care, pharmacy, teacher education and organizational leadership in Loudoun County, will renovate additional space on the Northern Virginia Campus to house the new programs.
President Tracy Fitzsimmons describes how strategic partnerships and clinical experiences are critical in educating students to deliver quality health care.
“Inova and Shenandoah University have productively collaborated for many years, beginning with our nursing and respiratory care programs at our Northern Virginia Campus,” said Shenandoah University President Tracy Fitzsimmons. “The addition of our OT, PA and PT programs seems a natural progression of our mutual commitment to professional health care education in Northern Virginia. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Inova, and look forward to a collaboration that will prepare our students with the outstanding resources and clinical experiences they need to serve as health care providers in the Northern Virginia region.”
For its part, Inova will provide $3.2 million in seed money to start up the programs, building a six-table cadaver lab and leasing space for up to two years. It will also provide clinical and rotational experiences for students enrolled in these programs. Through this partnership, the two organizations will seek to create a pipeline for allied health students at Shenandoah’s Northern Virginia Campus directly into employment – including jobs within Inova’s integrated network of hospitals and outpatient care facilities.
“This is a win-win for both organizations, for future students, for graduating professionals and for the communities and patients that we serve,” commented Knox Singleton, CEO of Inova. “Shenandoah is a highly regarded university, especially in the area of health care education. Given Inova’s commitment to improve the health of our community through excellence in education and research, we’re excited about this collaboration’s impact on the ongoing development of health care professionals now and in the future.”
Director of the Division of Physical Therapy and Chair of the Health Professions Council Karen Abraham talks about how access to clinical rotations within the Inova system will benefit future OT, PA and PT students studying at the Northern Virginia Campus.
The curriculum, subject to approval by the appropriate accreditation associations, will begin with a limited number of OT and PT students in the fall of 2014. As the effort builds with respect to enrollment, it is anticipated that by August 2015, Shenandoah will absorb the full cost of the programs.
“We will continue to explore ways to share resources and to provide innovative health care education for the betterment of our organizations and for the communities we serve,” said President Fitzsimmons.
Shenandoah’s health professions programs began 50 years ago, through the university’s partnership with Valley Health System in the co-development of Shenandoah’s nursing program. Collaboration between the two organizations over the years has continued, helping Shenandoah establish renowned and highly-competitive programs in nursing, respiratory care, pharmacy, OT, PT and PA studies.
“The opportunity to expand our OT, PA and PT programs in Loudoun County in partnership with Inova is only possible because of our long-term partnership in Winchester with Valley Health,” said Fitzsimmons. “Because of Valley Health’s vision and support that began decades ago, we were able to initiate and build these highly respected graduate health care programs that have, over time, grown in size and quality. As we look to the future, we will endeavor to find innovative ways to work jointly with both Inova and Valley Health to bring high quality health care education to all of the northern Shenandoah Valley and Northern Virginia communities.”
“Our relationship, as well as that of Valley Health with Shenandoah University, has always proven substantive and collaborative,” observed Singleton. “Together, we are committed and privileged to optimize the health and well-being of each individual we serve in our respective communities.”