Text size:  A  A  A

University–employer partnerships, workforce development key to future of health care

Dean Penny Moyers leads her school's procession at University convocation.
Dean Penny Moyers leads her school's procession at University convocation.
Photo by Julie Michener.

Reforms enacted by the Affordable Care Act have increased pressure on both healthcare employers and employees. Employees face increasing pressure to not just keep their skills up to date, but to “step up their game” with continuing education and advanced degrees. Employers are facing pressure to keep healthcare costs down and reduce the number of patients readmitted to their facilities or face hefty federal fines.

Relieving that pressure – both for employers and employees – is the “sweet spot” where Dean Penny Moyers envisions the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health (HSSH) to be.

Moyers’ vision for the HSSH is to build on its successful clinical partnerships with health care and community organizations and be the “go to” workforce education partner to develop interprofessional skills that increase collaborative practices, support innovative healthcare delivery models and use research and data to improve patient outcomes.

Currently the University’s School of Health has more than 3,000 students in 32 programs and is planning to add advanced degrees in public health and healthcare informatics, among others.

Addressing the University’s Board of Trustees earlier this year, Moyers outlined how healthcare is changing and how the University plans to create clear education pathways to respond to changing needs of employers.

“There is a new focus on primary care and post-acute care, including care coordination to manage disease and an increased focus on helping patients prevent disease with behavioral and lifestyle changes,” says Moyers.

She lists the type of workers the future will need: critical thinkers, lifelong learners and collaborative team players who think holistically and innovatively. Patient-centered care is still primary, she says, but notes that professionals will need strong mathematics and science skills to interpret and use data to improve care.

Moyers’ staff has work tirelessly to forge critical relationships with the nation’s leading hospitals and clinics. These valuable partnerships play a critical role in shaping tomorrow’s healers and caregivers. Each year, over 2,000 St. Kate’s students complete more than 5,000 clinical placements in 550 sites nationwide.

On the leading edge of healthcare education, St. Catherine is the only university in the country that offers degrees in occupational therapy from the associate to clinical doctorate level.

St. Catherine University’s occupational therapy assistant degree was the first in the nation, and has been producing certified OTAs for more than 45 years. Following in this tradition, the University will launch its first OTA online program fall 2014.

Related content:

"Call of Duty" (SCAN, February 2014)

May 30, 2014 by Julie Michener

See also: Education, Healthcare, Leadership