How will Health and Human Services’ new facility boost Indiana’s health?

The new $64 million state-funded building is an investment of the state of Indiana in the health, health and wellness and social services workforce needs of Indiana.

The demand for more health care professionals in Indiana is a call heard loud and clear at Indiana State University, which celebrated the opening of the new Health and Human Services building in December.

Indiana State President Dan Bradley speaks during the Health and Human Services building ribbon cutting on Dec. 15.

“It is exciting to be here today to celebrate the largest capital project in our university’s history,” said Indiana State President Dan Bradley at the facility’s ribbon cutting on Dec. 15. “This new facility will provide high-tech labs and facilities to support the fast-growing College of Health and Human Services — ISU’s second largest college which services 2,700 undergraduates and nearly 750 graduate students. The faculty in the College of Health and Human Services has worked diligently to develop new degree programs that are helping address the state’s critical shortage of health care professionals.”

With employment in the health care industry expected to increase, the state’s investment in the Health and Human Services building acknowledges the importance of the health care industry and works to ease the nurse and physician shortages.

The shortfall in the number of health care professionals isn’t just being felt in Indiana, though. A study released in 2017 by the Association of American Medical Colleges projects a shortage of between 40,800 and 104,900 doctors nationwide. By 2030, the study estimates a shortfall of between 7,300 and 43,100 primary care physicians and non-primary care specialties are expected to experience a shortfall of between 33,500 and 61,800 physicians.

“At $64 million, no other project … has ever come as close to the magnitude of this type of investment. It is an investment in public higher education,” said Greg Goode, Indiana State’s executive director for governmental relations. “It is an investment in health and wellness. An investment in this campus, in this county and in this community.”

This project holds extra meaning for U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., who is a physician by training and represents the eighth district.

“We have reached a critical shortage in the health care workforce, both in Indiana and in our nation. This shortage greatly impacts access to quality, affordable health care for all of our citizens. We must do all we can to attract and incentivize students in medical fields,” he said. “This state-of-the-art facility will be a catalyst of learning for the next generation of athletic trainers, physical and occupational therapists, nurses, health educators and all of those willing to dedicate their lives to helping others.”

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development that estimates the state annually has thousands of openings for health care professionals, said Dean Caroline Mallory at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Health care professions are some of the fastest growing, high-wage jobs in Indiana, where 11 of the careers on the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s Hoosier Hot 50 Jobs list are in the health care field, including registered nurses, which is ranked No. 1.

Indiana State aims to steer students toward those higher paying, in-demand careers with the Health and Human Services building, which is fitted with smart classrooms, new labs and the latest technology to further facilitate learning and collaboration among disciplines.

“Our new building makes a statement that ISU is here for the 21st century,” said Diann McKee, senior vice president for finance and administration and treasurer for Indiana State. “It is beautiful, highly functional and a signature building for our campus and for Terre Haute. The building has converted an underused, blighted part of the community into a showplace for educating the next generation of health professionals.”

The facility will help mold the 21st health care professional by bringing the different health care disciplines under one roof, aiding in inter-professional education and allowing students from various health and wellness disciplines to participate in collaborative learning.

“This new building … is concrete evidence in the investment of the state of Indiana in the health, health and wellness and social services workforce needs of Indiana,” said Caroline Mallory, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “The College of Health and Human Services is where students come to become professionals, where the faculty teaching scholarship and career-readiness, and where the public can be assured that we are using their resources to improve the quality of life for all of Indiana. Thank you to everyone who has given large and small to make this project happen. This building will produce a higher quality learning environment for our students.”

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