More space, greater access to cutting-edge technology and simulation labs were among the features touted during Tuesday’s dedication of the O’Reilly Clinical Health Sciences Center.
The recently completed structure on the Missouri State University campus houses the school’s new Master of Occupational Therapy program, as well as its nursing, nurse anesthesiology, and physician assistant programs.
President Clif Smart cited strong demand in the university’s push for the new OT program, which enrolled 24 students this year.
“I remember as we were advocating for some funding for the state for that program being on a radio show with one of the hospital executives in town who essentially said, ‘We have so many openings in occupational therapy – it averages almost two years to make a hire – we hire 100 percent of the people that apply,’” Smart said.
The new building will also soon house a Mercy Care Clinic to assist the uninsured and offer more hands on experience for students. That has people like Bob Sobule, a physician’s assistant student, excited.
“Students will be able to ascertain a practical bedside experience and be provided opportunities to implement the skills and knowledge that they are learning to the local population. In addition to this, students will be able to provide healthcare and education for those that do not have the means to pay for primary care and other health services,” says Sobule.
Sobule added that he and his fellow students can spend between 40 to 50 hours a week split between lectures and studying in the simulation lab, so having a comfortable place to work is key.
The three-story facility is over 50,000 square feet. It includes lecture, study and lounge areas, an Activities of Daily Living (ADL) room that features a simulated bedroom, living room and garage, as well as a pediatrics lab, and outside therapy session space.
Much of the credit during Tuesday’s dedication went to the O’Reilly Family, for which the building is named and who contributed much of the private funding. Over the years the family has supported various healthcare initiatives. Charlie O’Reilly spoke on the family’s behalf.
“This support kind of grew from support of Missouri State University first of all, in general, and then the healthcare field.”
The naming rights to the building were established over a year ago, prior to MSU’s agreement with Mercy to run a clinic inside. O’Reilly said the clinic itself could have also been a reason to support the facility, calling it a “tremendous addition.”
The $19.5 million facility was also paid for by a combination of state money and student fees.
20 years ago, there were only three health education programs at MSU. The school now boasts 13 such programs. Four of those are at the clinical-doctorate level.
Missouri State’s College of Health and Human Services has grown to over 4,400 students, the second largest of the school’s colleges.