Dignitaries will be on hand Thursday evening to celebrate the opening of the new home of the Salina Health Education Center, the new home of the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Salina and the KU School of Nursing-Salina.
A vacant downtown property has been under renovation since the fall of 2016, and will become the new home of the KU School of Medicine Salina Campus. The University of Kansas and Salina Regional Health Center are moving the campus from its current location on the hospital property. Interior demolition of the former bank building located at 138 N. Santa Fe Ave. began last fall. This week transfer of equipment and furniture to the new facility began, as did some medical school classes.
The KU School of Medicine-Salina opened in 2011, though clinical training has been available for KU medical students in Salina since 2001. Now there are typically eight medical students in each class, for a total of 32 medical students in the Salina program.
The KU School of Nursing-Salina opened in August, 2017. The first class enrolled 12 students, and the program will have reached its campus maximum of 48 nursing students by 2021. The curricula for the KU Schools of Medicine and Nursing are identical to those programs on the Kansas City campus, with both on-site and distance education.
The new facility will provide 40,251 square feet of space, which more than doubles the current campus space located on Salina Regional Health Center’s hospital campus. The additional space is needed to address curriculum changes, which require more small group work and different types of classroom and lab space. The additional space also could accommodate possible future expansion of class sizes, which are currently capped at eight students per year.
The University of Kansas School of Medicine campus in Salina was created to address the critical shortage of physicians in Kansas. This innovative medical education program is aimed at students with a strong desire to practice in rural areas.
With eight students admitted each year, the Salina campus is the smallest four-year medical education site in the country. University leaders believe it can serve as a model for the nation. The vision is an effort to address physician shortages in rural Kansas. Ninety-seven of the 105 counties in Kansas are considered medically under-served.
The new downtown campus location will share facilities with the University of Kansas School of Nursing program, which started in Salina back in September. It accepted an initial class of 12 students. The curriculum for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is identical to the program in Kansas City. It is delivered via on-site faculty in Salina and distance education via video link. Plans call for class sizes to expand to 18 students in 2019 and 24 students in 2020. By year five of the program, the campus will have reached its maximum capacity of 48 students.
Students in both medicine and nursing engage in clinical experiences at the Salina Regional Health Center and its affiliated clinics in Salina and surrounding communities.
The grand opening Thursday evening is by invitation only.