Valparaiso University and University of Chicago Medicine Create New Student Training Program in Northwest Indiana

Valparaiso University and the University of Chicago Medicine are launching a new training program that gives future health care professionals in northwest Indiana vital, practical experience before they begin their careers. Under terms of the joint agreement between the university and the Chicago-based academic health system, students in Valparaiso University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions will have priority for placement to complete required clinical, practicum, internship, fieldwork, and other experiential learning opportunities at UChicago Medicine’s new 130,000-square-foot multispecialty care center and micro-hospital in Crown Point.

Students on Campus

“Thanks to the collaborative work of Valparaiso University’s President Jose Padilla and Provost Johnson, along with UChicago Medicine’s Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean, Mark Anderson, Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President for Patient Care Services, Emily Chase, and myself, we have achieved a great milestone,” said Karen Allen, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions. “This will allow us to continue with the high level, quality, education this College has been providing for more than 50 years. In addition, it will allow us to increase the number of health care professionals for the industry.”

Through the effort, Valpo students from all College of Nursing and Health Professions programs may become eligible to work at UChicago Medicine’s largest off-site facility when it opens in spring 2024. Students in nursing (BSN, DNP), physician assistant (MSPA), occupational Therapy (Dr.OT, OTD), public health (BSPH, MPH), health care leadership and administration (BSHCL, MHA), health science (BSHS), and exercise science (BSExSc) will have the opportunity to complete their experiential learning requirements alongside professional UChicago Medicine staff. Other students, such as those in health sciences, health care leadership and health care administration, will work within the Crown Point center in supervised administrative roles. 

UChicago Medicine’s new Crown Point facility will have an eight-bed emergency department, a short-stay inpatient unit, imaging, outpatient surgery, laboratory services, medical offices and a cancer center with infusion therapy as well as radiation, medical and surgical oncology.

Some students may also do educational rotations at the University of Chicago Medical Center, UChicago Medicine’s flagship campus in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. All students will be required to be clinically cleared for the placement work and meet program requirements.

LeBien Hall Valparaiso

“Training the next generation of clinicians is a critical part of our mission as an academic health system and I’m absolutely thrilled to extend our educational partnerships to include students from Valparaiso University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions,” said Emily Chase, PhD, RN, NE-BC, UChicago Medicine’s Chief Nursing Officer. “Hands-on training programs like this are critical components of the work to grow the pipeline of nurses, physician assistants, occupational therapists and so many other health care jobs. And launching this effort now is especially timely as our health system opens its first free-standing location in Indiana.”

The news of this partnership comes shortly before an Oct. 30th visit from  U.S. Representative Frank J. Mrvan, whose efforts have ensured a $1 million update to the College of Nursing and Health Profession’s Simulation and Experiential Learning Centers. Both of these initiatives will ensure that students at the Valparaiso University College of Nursing will enter the health care workforce with as much experience as possible in patient care. 

This partnership emphasizes the importance of creating a world-class learning environment for all Valparaiso University students as described in the five-year strategic plan Uplift Valpo: Our Beacon for the Journey Forward.