Today I will join members of the Legislature to announce an initiative important to the University’s ability to serve the state. Our proposal, “Building a Healthier Nebraska,” focuses on expanding our capacity in nursing and allied health, cancer research and care, and veterinary medicine and diagnostics. This initiative provides an opportunity to improve health care, increase knowledge workforce development and job creation, and create new options for students in health fields across Nebraska.
Building a Healthier Nebraska seeks state support for:
• A new College of Nursing facility in Lincoln. This has been our priority capital request in the Legislature for several years, and a new facility would allow us to expand enrollment and improve education to better meet Nebraska’s healthcare needs. The state’s nursing shortage is expected to reach 3,800 by 2020, with rural areas especially hard-hit. Currently the Lincoln division turns away many qualified applicants because of space limitations.
• A cancer research tower at UNMC. Every Nebraska family is touched by cancer, and we are fortunate to have a leading university research and care center in our state. Over half of UNMC’s research funding and almost half of our patient revenue is related to cancer. Our plans would add faculty, attract more research support, and locate cancer researchers and clinicians in one complex. This would support our efforts to achieve Comprehensive Cancer Center designation by the National Cancer Institute, which has long been a goal of the University.
• An addition to the Bruner Hall of Science at UNK to allow for expansion of the UNMC Kearney nursing division and establishment of a new UNK-based UNMC allied health professions program. In addition to helping meet the demand in nursing, particularly in central Nebraska, this project would also address the high demand for allied health workers such as physician assistants and physical therapists in rural areas.
• Planning and design funds for a new Veterinary Diagnostic Center at IANR. We need to demonstrate progress in improving our facilities to ensure accreditation, key to the Nebraska veterinarians and livestock producers who rely on our center for accurate, timely information. A new Veterinary Diagnostic Center is supported by industry leaders in the state and fits well with our priorities in continuing to invest in research, education and outreach in agriculture and life sciences.
This is a significant request, but we have a unique opportunity now to make a strategic, targeted investment that will leverage University’s strengths and private and other funding to benefit Nebraska well into the future.
I invite you to learn more about the Building a Healthier Nebraska initiative at www.nebraska.edu/HealthierNebraska.
Thank you for all that you do for the University of Nebraska.
James B. Milliken