Higher Education Today: Sinclair unveils health sciences center

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Higher Education Today: Sinclair unveils health sciences center

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The surgical simulation suite in Sinclair Community College s new Ned J. Sifferlen Health Sciences Center features Skytron equipment used by local health care facilities. (SINCLAIR COMMUNITY COLLEGE PHOTOS)

The new Sinclair Sifferlen Health Sciences Center at Sinclair Community College is an investment that delivers on a promise to Montgomery County residents to transform health care education to address the changing workforce needs of the area’s employers.

The $31.5 million, 141,000-square-foot facility, located at the main campus on the corner of Fourth and Perry streets in Dayton, brings Sinclair’s health sciences degree and certificate programs from nine buildings into one innovative center.

One of the finest of its kind in the nation, the facility is named after Sinclair President Emeritus, Dr. Ned J. Sifferlen, and reflects Sinclair’s commitment to combining a focus on excellent teaching with an emphasis on service for the benefit of students and the larger community.

These new, technology-infused education spaces ensure that health sciences students, as well as health care professionals from throughout the region, have an opportunity to experience the latest in simulation education as well as learn together as inter-professional teams.

With more than 53 degrees and certificates and 5,500 health sciences graduates during the past five years, Sinclair continues to be the largest provider of high-quality health care workers in the Dayton region.

Sinclair Community College works hard to stay connected to these employers and their rapidly changing needs, with more than 500 clinical affiliations throughout the region.

Health care continues to be the largest economic sector for the state and region, and a field that is driven by continuous change. To meet the changing industry needs, one of the goals of the new facility is to provide educational experiences to emphasize the importance of inter-professional care on treatment success and patient outcomes.

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At Sinclair, the focus is constantly on the individual student and on what they need to accomplish their goals. Currently more than 6,300 students are admitted to the various programs, including students like LeeAnn Daniel, who is pursuing a career as an occupational therapy assistant. After gaining professional experience working as a teacher’s aide in a special needs classroom, Daniel knew she wanted to continue to work with children. It was a personal experience, however, that helped steer her toward a specific career path.

“My niece is severely autistic and blind,” Daniel said. “When I first saw her occupational therapist work with her, I just knew it was something I wanted to do.”

Daniel is a second-year student in Sinclair College’s two-year occupational therapy assistant program. Sinclair is the only college in the greater Dayton area that offers an accredited occupational therapy assistant degree.

“I probably thought about the program for a year before starting,” Daniel said. “For a while I thought I was too old to go back to school, but I knew I couldn’t preach to my kid to go to college if I didn’t.”

She is raising her eight-year-old daughter on her own, which also factored into her uncertainty about returning to school.

“I thought I would have problems being a single mom and going back to school but I haven’t; it’s been really good,” Daniel said. “My instructors are really understanding. They know I’m a good student and that I’m there every day. They’re just great.”

In addition to faculty support, she is encouraged by the advantage she now has attending classes in the new Health Sciences Center.

“I’m excited,” Daniel said. “It is combining occupational therapy and physical therapy spaces, because in the work field those specialties work together. It will give us good experience to work with other professions before graduating.”

In the new Health Sciences Center, the occupational therapy assistant and physical therapy assistant lab spaces are divided by a retractable wall which can be opened to provide students with inter-professional learning opportunities.

The facility also includes a one-of-a-kind home health simulation space and a surgical simulation suite featuring Skytron equipment used by local health care facilities.

Finally, Sinclair Community College’s commitment to excellent education and community service can be seen in the expanded 25-chair Midmark Dental Health Clinic, which also provides dental care to more than 1,600 underserved residents each year.

Dr. Rena Shuchat, dean of Sinclair’s Health Sciences Division, shared, “We are thrilled to have Midmark as our partner in our dental health program. They are a leader in dental equipment and technologies, and because of their donation and partnership, our students are getting an incredible hands-on opportunity. This allows us to provide over $500,000 worth of dental health care to our community annually.”

Students began using the facility Aug. 21, the first day of the fall semester. The project came in both on schedule and on budget.

“The strategy behind Sinclair’s Health Sciences Center is to use outstanding technology from local companies like Midmark that are global industry leaders,” said Madeline Iseli, Sinclair’s senior vice president for advancement. “This approach ensures that our students benefit by being prepared for careers in the local health care economy, and the patients of this community receive care from a well-prepared workforce.”

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