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Northern Kentucky University breaks ground on Health Innovation Center

University Marketing + Communications

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Imagine a world in which transdisciplinary teams – healthcare professionals, data experts, psychologists, and others – come together to study and find solutions to population health challenges such as addiction and chronic illness.

That is the ambitious vision behind Northern Kentucky University’s new Health Innovation Center, which is now under construction on NKU’s Highland Heights campus. On Wednesday, Governor Steven L. Beshear and other state officials joined campus and community leaders in breaking ground on the facility.

“This is an historic day for Northern Kentucky University and our ongoing partnership with them,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “I was proud to recommend in my 2014-2016 budget this investment of $97 million in General Fund supported bonds to support renovation of Founders Hall and construction of a new facility – the Health Innovation Center. Through this new learning center, NKU is helping us improve our education programs to prepare our young leaders for the increasingly high-tech jobs of the 21st Century, and making Kentucky more competitive as companies seek out highly skilled, capable employees. Our future looks bright as we continue to partner with our higher education community to raise our education standards and rankings.”

The Health Innovation Center is expected to open in 2018. It will be home to the College of Health Professions and provide space to grow existing programs as well as add offerings, including an addiction science program.

“Our Health Innovation Center is more than a new building.  It represents a new approach to education and to healthcare delivery,” said NKU President Geoffrey S. Mearns. “We are proud to lead the way, with the help and support of our partners in Frankfort and in our local community.”

The center will bring together experts from each of NKU’s six colleges to create transdisciplinary teams to study health care from new perspectives. The approach will combine data analytics, psychology, preventative care, and holistic approaches to help address population health challenges such as addiction and chronic illness.

“The future of population healthcare will increasingly depend upon gathering and analyzing data to determine which practices and policies are improving collective health outcomes,” said Dr. Dale Scalise Smith, dean of the College of Health Professions. “Our innovative approach will be a model for other educational institutions and communities to emulate.”

Construction on the facility begins as the region’s healthcare workforce needs continue to grow: a recent study by NKU’s Center for Economic Analysis and Development indicates more than 50,000 new qualified health care workers are needed in Greater Cincinnati by 2020.

The Health Innovation Center has been developed with input from faculty and staff across the University, as well as from business and healthcare leaders across Greater Cincinnati.

The project is funded by a $97 million allocation from the Kentucky General Assembly.

St. Elizabeth Healthcare has also invested $8 million to construct and equip the two-story, state-of-the-art St. Elizabeth Healthcare Simulation Center, which will provide a high-tech, real-world learning experience for students.

The project includes construction of a new 95,492 square-foot facility as well as the renovation of the 111,639 square-foot Founders Hall, the University’s second-oldest academic building.

The facility is designed by CO Architects of Los Angeles and GBBN Architects of Cincinnati. The construction manager is Turner Construction of Cincinnati.

The Health Innovation Center will be the first new academic building constructed on NKU’s Highland Heights campus since Griffin Hall, home to the College of Informatics, opened in October 2011.

HIC lobby