Four of our region’s leading institutions announced the creation of the Alliance for Healthcare Education on Aug. 29.
The Alliance is a bold, collaborative approach that will develop the talent to meet – and exceed – our region’s health care workforce needs for decades to come.
The new entity is an unprecedented partnership among CoxHealth, Missouri State University (MSU), Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) and Springfield Public Schools (SPS). Leaders at these institutions recognize that by working together, they can achieve more than any one of them could alone.
When the partnership is fully realized, the Alliance will be the largest producer of health sciences professionals in the Midwest.
The joint announcement took place at Cox College, where the leaders of the four partnering institutions – Max Buetow, president and CEO of CoxHealth; Dr. Hal Higdon, chancellor of OTC; Dr. Grenita Lathan, superintendent of SPS; and Clif Smart, president of MSU – came together to share the news.
“The Alliance for Healthcare Education will benefit an array of stakeholders — students, the health care sector and patients,” the leaders of the four institutions said in a joint statement. “This pioneering collaboration promises to improve access to training opportunities while maintaining affordability. By refining and simplifying these educational pathways, our community’s medical providers will have access to a larger pool of well-qualified professionals capable of fulfilling vital roles from administration to the operating room.
“Despite its composition as a consortium of educational institutions, the collective gains are far-reaching, for we will all inevitably engage with the health care profession at some point. This collaboration will enhance patient experience and outcomes, yielding mutual advantages for everyone involved.”
The health care landscape
Across the country, the health care sector is grappling with a notable workforce challenge, and our region is no exception. In southwest Missouri, we are uniquely positioned for collaboration with strong educational and health care professionals who are accustomed to working together.
The creation of the Alliance will allow each institution to bring their strengths to more students than ever before.
The Alliance will inspire and prepare future health care experts by providing unsurpassed access to the highest quality interdisciplinary education and industry experiences. Students will achieve their full professional potential through seamless pathways that support them at every stage of their careers.
As part of the change, Cox College will be fully integrated into the Alliance. Current Cox College students will complete their programs. Pending approval of the Higher Learning Commission and other accrediting organizations, over time, Cox College will transition its bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs to MSU, and its associate programs to OTC.
In addition, OTC and SPS will work to establish a pathway through which high school juniors and seniors can participate in health education programs offered by OTC. These programs will allow students to simultaneously complete their high school diploma while earning an associate degree.
Ultimately, the Alliance will create pipelines that allow students early access to the industry and professional opportunities.
In the future, the Alliance hopes to attract other participants, including additional high schools.
The Alliance will be housed at Cox North, including space where Cox College is currently located.
The Alliance will be established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, owned by the four parties. The Alliance will be administered by a governing board comprised of the chief executive officers of the owner-participants, and one or more community board members as determined by the owner-participants. Day-to-day operational decisions will be vetted and recommended by an Operations Council of representatives from each of the owner-participants.
In the coming months, all four organizations will work through details, and provide updates to the public on this exciting new chapter in workforce development for our region.