GVSU launches new Health care center

February 28, 2009
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Grand Valley State University is launching a new Center for Healthcare Transformation to coalesce scholars and community leaders interested in bringing research-based change to the practice of health care.

“It’s not about building a new building or anything like that. It’s creating a synergy within the College of Nursing and actually even broader than that, in the hopes it will stimulate interdisciplinary dialogue and projects together, as well,” said Cynthia McCurren, dean of GVSU’s Kirkoff College of Nursing.

“The idea behind a funded center is that it actually provides the infrastructure to provide resources and bring individuals of shared interest together. So the kinds of things that would emanate from this would be programs of research, feasibility studies or pilot work that our faculty might do, individuals from our practice partnerships, our students. It also could support the integration of teaching and practice with research.”

This fall, the university is admitting its first students in the new doctorate of nursing practice program, she said. This new center will provide a way for their research activities to be translated into changes in patient care, health systems and policy, McCurren added.

“Inherent in that degree are individuals who are very prepared to do translational research or take research to the point of care and really influence patient outcomes, but also systems change and policy change,” she said.

Fundraising for the center is under way and received a major boost last month from Bonnie Wesorick, founder and former chair of CPM Resource Center, which is devoted to transforming patient care and the health care workplace with evidence-based software tools. The Grand Rapids company today is owned by The Netherlands-based Elsevier, a publisher of health and science information, perhaps best known as the publisher of “Gray’s Anatomy.”

GVSU requires its named centers to start with $1 million in gifts, and Wesorick’s gift pushes the Center for Healthcare Transformation past the half-way mark, McCurren said. The remainder will be raised through GVSU’s continuing Shaping Our Future campaign.

Wesorick could not be reached for comment last week, but in a statement, she said, “I’m very excited to partner with Grand Valley, a core leader in the Grand Rapids area that prepares excellent health care providers for our community and beyond. It is my vision that the impact of the center’s research and scholarly work will improve every aspect of health care, wherever the hands of those who give and receive care meet.”

The center will be named for Wesorick, McCurren said.

“She is a leader in this work,” McCurren added. “She realized what she wanted to do in health care through her own company and her product. She’s just a marvelous person who was visionary before her time and really made things happen.”

The center will use CPM’s international network of health care organizations for research on health care reform’s impact on economy, quality and error reduction, she said. Locally, CPM lists Holland Hospital as one of its customers.

McCurren said that once the initial fundraising goal is met, a faculty member will be hired to be director of the center.

“In response to the current national agenda to reform American health care, we expect that the center will be the start of a continuous wave of new knowledge and practice that will expand across West Michigan and beyond.”

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