Saint Mary’s unveils state-of-the-art Center for Integrative Healthcare Education
Genevieve Coleman | Monday, October 11, 2021
After months of renovation, Saint Mary’s College invited the community to tour the new Center for Integrative Healthcare Education (CIHE) housed in Regina Hall Friday morning. The event was part of a week to celebrate the inauguration of President Katie Conboy.
Before the tour, College administrators and nursing department faculty spoke about the impact of the Center on students and future patients in what was formerly Regina Hall’s chapel space.
Senior vice president and provost Titilayo Ufomata began the presentation by discussing how the Center will be used by all health and behavioral science departments.
“Today, we have a facility that provides students with an interdisciplinary and inter-professional education with access to multidisciplinary simulation labs, classroom space and research opportunities,” she said. “The first to move into the building was the Department of Nursing Science. Later, as the Center continues to expand, all of Saint Mary’s health science and behavioral sciences will be housed here, including autism studies, social work and gerontology and speech language pathology.”
Saint Mary’s President Katie Conboy then noted how the Sisters of the Holy Cross have always used Regina Hall as a center for education.
“Since its inception, the Sisters of the Holy Cross built Regina to house their novices, and it represented the intersection of mission for the sisters and the College to form young women in the Holy Cross charism and to educate them in preparation to do God’s work in the world,” she said.
Conboy continued by describing how Regina still fulfills the original mission of the Sisters.
“Regina was later transformed into housing and education spaces for students,” she said. “It’s so fitting today that this building — while still housing our students in the two towers — is transformed yet again taking on its new role as an intersection of education and healthcare, which have been two pillars of the accomplishments of the Sisters.”
Commending the resources available to students in the Center, Conboy stated she looked forward to student success in the future.
“The state-of-the-art facilities will provide [students] with incomparable tools, education and experience to make an immediate impact and to be leaders in contemporary healthcare,” she said. “I can’t wait to see our students — undergraduate and graduate — as well as our faculty interacting and learning in new and innovative ways.”
Conboy concluded by acknowledging the project’s benefactors including the $1 million grant from the Lily Endowment Inc.
“As Dr. Ufomata mentioned, plans for the Center have been years in the making,” Conboy said. “Because of the dedication of many people, we now stand in this incredible space. The Lilly Endowment and their $1 million gift as part of the Charting the Future Grant gave us the ability to take our dreams and realize them in specific detail.”
President of the Sisters of the Holy Cross Sr. Veronique Wiedower offered a blessing over the new space, as well as the people who will use it.
Director of the Nursing Science program Dr. Sue Anderson then expressed her deep gratitude for the Center’s new technology.
“This building truly means everything to the nursing faculty and students,” she said. “We have moved from Havican Hall, where we had one very small simulation lab and one very outdated nursing skills lab,” she said. “The addition of these best-in-class simulation and nursing skills labs with the state-of-the-art equipment elevate the Department of Nursing Science to the top of the nursing programs in the Midwest.”
Anderson also emphasized the importance of providing students with learning opportunities, especially as they enter a world that needs their skills.
“The educational opportunities that this facility offers are priceless,” she said. “The investment in health care comes at a time in our history when our nurses must be highly educated to meet the demands of a nation experiencing crisis.”
The audience then toured the building complete with simulation labs, exam rooms, an 11-bed nursing lab, classrooms, faculty offices and student lounge areas. During the tour, nursing students and faculty members performed demonstrations on mannequins in the simulation lab rooms.
Senior nursing student Taylor Murphy expressed her excitement about moving from Havican Hall to the Center to finish her education.
“It’s so cool that we get to be here because we were in Havican, so we started out our nursing education there,” she said. “While that was a good facility, it wasn’t super high tech, so we did a lot of pretending.”
Murphy praised the technology embedded in the nursing simulation mannequins, which allow students to practice many relevant skills.
“But now we don’t really have to pretend all that much because the mannequins are super high tech,” she said. “We can listen to their heart sounds, lung sounds, bowel sounds. We can change their heart rhythm. We can feel their pulses. It’s super realistic.”
Murphy said she was also impressed by how the Center’s facilities will prepare her to work in real-world settings.
“The simulations rooms look just like a hospital room,” she said. “The exam rooms also look like real exam rooms, so I feel like it will make it easier to transition into a hospital.”