$ 38 Million Health Education Center Hailed by Louisiana Executives as a Place “to Train Future Heroes” | Education


On a groundbreaking Wednesday for the Ochsner Center for Nursing and Allied Health at Delgado Community College, a new building and program slated to open in 2023, Governor John Bel Edwards urged attendees to remember spring last, when the state had the highest growth rate in COVID-19 cases are measured anywhere.

It was the heroes of healthcare in hospitals and clinics, he said, who rose to the challenge.

But although the state has fought back three waves of the virus, Edwards cited considerable work to improve health outcomes for all residents as the state remains at or near the bottom of the “US health rankings” of the United Health Foundation.

One of the ways forward, he said, is through public and private partnerships like those of Ochsner and Delgado, which together create the $ 38.6 million center.

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“This is where we are going to train the future heroes who will be there for us for the next 100 years, no matter what,” said Edwards. “Even before the pandemic, the state had an urgent need for medical professionals and this will help meet that need both in the short and long term. And the future is shaping up.”

Ochsner has committed $ 20 million, including $ 10 million for the state-of-the-art building that will house Delgado’s Charity School of Nursing and most of the Allied Health division’s programs. It will enable 1,500 students to learn in state-of-the-art labs and classrooms.

An additional $ 10 million will cover full-time tuition fees for Ochsner employees looking to advance in hospital careers. They can study in fields like nursing and pharmacy.

Warner Thomas, CEO of Ochsner Health System, said that while the pandemic has stretched the hospital system, it has not broken the drive to improve local health care in other ways.

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In November, Ochsner announced a $ 100 million campaign over the next five years to reduce disparities by removing barriers to health, improving resources in underserved communities, and helping educate the next generation of State pursuing careers in healthcare.

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“At the end of the day, if we don’t have great trained healthcare providers and a workforce that can take care of you, we can’t do what we do every day at Ochsner.” Thomas said.

Delgado Chancellor Larissa Littleton-Steib said the new building will inspire young people. She noted that in recent years, Delgado’s health programs have graduated and accredited more than 15,000 nursing and health professionals. Of those, 90% remain in the New Orleans metro area, she said.

But she said that while Delgado’s paramedical division is the largest healthcare educator in the country, it’s not enough, so the college plans to double the number of healthcare-focused graduates in the six coming years.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell said of about 780 people who died from COVID-19 in New Orleans, more than 70% were African Americans, many of whom faced long-standing health care disparities.

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“One thing we do know is that public health, the workforce, is about economic progress and the success of the people, whom we all serve collectively,” Cantrell said. “This is our city, and this is our opportunity.”

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