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Health Institute update: Big plans ahead

A new building and nearly half a million dollars to help DACA students are among highlights.

By Cory Phare

June 24, 2019

Students sitting in desks in a classroom and having a discussion.Progress on the Metropolitan State University of Denver Health Institute has been swift and steady this past year – and with a new building and grant from the Colorado Health Institute on the way, shows no sign of slowing down in meeting the needs of a complex, in-demand workforce.

“We see a shift happening across education and health care for both to think more in terms of systems,” said Emily Matuszewicz, interim director of the Health Institute. “The complexities require people to communicate across disciplines; we’re really beginning to see how challenging it is when you have teams that don’t know how to do that.”

A big part of addressing those challenges is the anticipated new building slated to house the Health Institute. The planned site for the structure is the lot between the Tivoli parking lot and the Hospitality Learning Center/SpringHill Suites, abutting Auraria Parkway overlooking the quadlike green space. Tentative plans include elements such as a walking path and garden.

“We’re being really purposeful with the building layout to help students comprehensively navigate their way into a health-care career,” Matuszewicz said. “And we’re excited for it to be welcoming to both students and the community from the moment they walk into the building.”

The architect of record on the project is Anderson Mason Dale, who also completed the Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building in addition to work on the Science building and other institutions across higher education. The layout plans to build on the institute’s core pillars, including cutting-edge simulation labs, health-career navigation, industry partnerships, building industry-informed curriculum and workforce-ready leaders, shifting to a whole-person wellness approach and creating culturally informed curricula.

Once the funding is finalized, Matuszewicz anticipated it will take about nine months for architectural drawings to be completed before a groundbreaking and two-year construction project.

“We know MSU Denver is known for our public-private partnerships and have every intention to further engage industry partners with this new building,” she added.

In other news, the Health Institute has recently been awarded a grant from the Colorado Health Foundation for $469,919.20 to be distributed over three years, starting this fall. The funds are anticipated to support 15 DACA students via scholarships, mentor-pairing and the hiring of an additional health-career navigator.

“This grant allows us to further share our commitment to marginalized students and is evidence of our ability to gain the support of a large, local philanthropic organization that aligns with our mission,” Matuszewicz said.

Additionally, the inaugural cohort of 47 students in the Health Care Opportunity Program just wrapped up its first year. Matuszewicz said the initial feedback has been positive and that further assessment is ongoing via focus groups. Most of the 2019 cohort members have been notified, and the next applications will open next March. 

“It’s been an exciting year, and we’re looking forward for all the great work to continue ahead,” Matuszewicz said.

Topics: Academics, Health Institute

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