A $1 million gift will help McPherson College fund a new community health care initiative, including ten $25,000 scholarships for students committed to community health. This is on the heels of an announcement last month of a partnership with McPherson Hospital.

“We want to work together to make health care better in our community,” said McPherson College President Michael Schneider. “The narrative for small colleges and small hospitals is a little bit bleak, a little bit challenging. People are wondering what the future holds. We’re going to work together to prove everyone wrong and combine new academic programs in health sciences with outreach in our community.”

Kansas is among states with the highest numbers of rural hospitals and greatest shortage of healthcare professionals of all types, according to the National Rural Health Association.

“The dollars are really going to be used in a couple important ways next year,” said Schneider. “Number one, to help fund some of the signature outreach that we’re looking at, the mentorships that we’re looking to do with elementary schools, middle schools and high school students. We’re also looking to do programming with our older adults in the community. In addition, we’re in the early stages of having a discussion where we could potentially utilize on ground and telemedicine to create mental and physical health clinics in each one of our elementary schools.”

The new health care programs are focused on creating health-related career pathways for students.

“Our program is a four-year program that allows those students interested in health care to take the time to discern what they might like to do, rather than just go straight into some kind of program and then finish up and decide, I didn’t really like that,” said Schneider. “It gives them the space to decide what they like by sending them out into the field to do field experiences. Each year, students will get a different kind of field experience.”

The curriculum for the new degree will begin in the fall of 2020. For more information about the community health degree, please contact McPherson College admissions at [email protected].