Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City

OSU-OKC and Variety Care Partner to Open New Allied Health Building

High-tech Allied Health building brings a new concept to education


(August 26, 2016, Oklahoma City, OK) – Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City (OSU-OKC) Allied Health students started their fall 2016 semester in a new state-of-the-art building designed to offer a learning experience that is both high-tech and high-touch thanks to an innovative partnership between the university and Variety Care.


The recently completed Allied Health building features a 7,500 square-foot advanced simulation center with the latest training equipment available and a full-functioning Variety Care community health center open to the public.


Construction of the 45,000-square-foot building began in May 2015 and was completed in time to welcome students for classes on August 22, 2016. OSU-OKC, Variety Care and several partners and donors celebrated the new building with a grand opening and ribbon cutting on August 26.


The building is home to OSU-OKC’s Health Sciences Division, which includes nursing, diagnostic sonography, nutritional sciences, health care administration, and radiologic technology. OSU-OKC will also host training and continuing education classes for experienced healthcare workers employed throughout the Oklahoma City metro area.


OSU-OKC President Natalie Shirley said OSU-OKC’s thriving health sciences programs led to the new building that is one of the few such concepts in the nation.


“Because of the reputation of our health sciences programs, we have seen an increase in demand that we couldn’t meet. Now we have greater capacity to give our allied health students the foundation to be the very best in their chosen field,” Shirley said. “I am excited because this prime learning space means OSU-OKC will play an even greater role in addressing the local and national healthcare professional shortage by producing graduates who are ready to work immediately in the field.”


The proximity of the Variety Care health center provides OSU-OKC students the chance to directly interact with physicians and patients, and the opportunity to learn and work as part of a healthcare team in a clinical setting.


“The health provider and allied health worker of tomorrow will need different skills and collaborative attitude where all parts of the care team focus upon the patient’s engagement, the system’s coordination and the community’s wellbeing,” said Variety Care CEO Lou Carmichael. “By co-locating an actual operational health center in the Allied Health building, students will train in the way health care will be in the future. Those transformations are taking place at a rapid pace and graduates of the program at OSU will be prepared to work and lead these innovations. We are thrilled to be part of this visionary project.”


An advanced Simulation Center is at the heart of the new Allied Health building and uses life-size human “manikins” that can be programmed to provide a realistic replication of a clinical situation. Students administer care to the simulator manikin as though it is a real patient and the simulator responds accordingly, with all scenarios developed and evaluated by faculty.


Simulators and classroom and training equipment were purchased through grants and donations from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, The Hearst Foundations, Integris, The Sarkeys Foundation, Cox, Presbyterian Health Foundation and Pedigo Products. Delta Dental provided funding for the equipment in the Variety Care dental suite.


“This is truly a community effort,” Shirley said. “The beneficiaries are our students and the residents living in a very underserved area of Oklahoma City.”


OSU-OKC students are included among those who can use the Variety Care center. “An important goal of this project was to bring health services to our students and their families, many who can’t afford access to quality health care,” Shirley said. “Through this partnership, they will now have access to that care on our campus.”

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Pictured: U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration Representative Cornell Wesley; Variety Care CEO Lou Carmichael; Representative Jason Dunnington; Councilwoman Meg Salyer; OSU-OKC Health Sciences Division Head Danyel Germain; OSU-OKC Vice President of Academic Affairs Joey Fronheiser, Ph.D.; OSU-OKC President Natalie Shirley; and Delta Dental of Oklahoma President and CEO John Gladden.