Jefferson College Of Health Sciences Intends to Merge With Radford University

L-R: Jefferson College of Health Sciences President Nathaniel Bishop, Executive Vice President of Carilion Clinic Jeanne Armentrout and Radford University President Brian Hemphill.

Officials from Carilion Clinic, Jefferson College of Health Sciences and Radford University announced Thursday they intend to merge Jefferson College into the Radford University family of colleges and departments.

“Radford University and Jefferson College have a robust history of collaboration, and these two great institutions are now working toward an even stronger partnership,” said Dr. Brian O. Hemphill, president of Radford University. “This endeavor benefits the students, faculty, staff, alumni, supporters and communities of both institutions, along with the Commonwealth of Virginia and the entire region.”

“Both schools are approaching this potential merger from positions of institutional excellence and financial strength. We’re combining forces to create something even bigger and better for the entire Commonwealth,” said Dr. Nathaniel L. Bishop, president of Jefferson College. “We believe that together, we can enhance the quality of health care education and research better than we could individually.”

Carilion Clinic currently owns and operates Jefferson College. The merger planning process is expected to take 18 to 24 months.

Radford University, Jefferson College and Carilion Clinic officials will work closely during this time to develop processes and procedures to facilitate the integration. “As we work carefully during the next several months to determine the best structure, we will be diligent in our efforts to keep stakeholders informed about the process,” Hemphill said.

Radford University officials intend to welcome Jefferson College primarily into its Waldron College of Health and Human Services. “Jefferson College already enjoys a wonderful relationship with Radford University,” said Bishop. “This next step makes sense for both institutions, and serves to enhance Radford University’s reputation as a premier educational destination for those seeking careers in nursing, health care and health sciences.”

Jefferson College brings 35 years of history as an accredited institution and has grown from 200 to about 1,150 students in that time. The college is one of the top producers of nursing and allied health professionals in the region and is in the top 10 in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Radford University, Jefferson College and Carilion Clinic boast a long list of collaborative endeavors:

  • When the Roanoke Memorial Hospital School of Nursing closed in 1988, a partnership was developed to transition the program to Radford University. The partnership increased the size of Radford University’s nursing program and allowed students to receive half of their training at Roanoke Memorial. Today, many Radford University students continue their clinical education at the hospital. • Carilion Clinic has provided student health services to Radford University since 1999.
  • Carilion Clinic employs hundreds of Radford University graduates, including more than 350 Radford University nursing graduateson its staff – 40 of whom were hired in 2016 alone.
  • Radford University, Jefferson College and the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine collaborated in 2015 to establish the Virginia Intercollegiate Anatomy Lab, housed at Jefferson College.
  • Radford University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program was integrated with Jefferson College’s Roanoke campus in 2011, and it has promoted interaction between program participants and major health care providers in the region.
  • More than 500 Radford University students participated in job shadowing, clinical rotations or internships with Carilion Clinic from 2016 to 2017.
  • Carilion Clinic provides event coverage, athletic training and sports clinics to Radford University Athletics.
  • Carilion Clinic’s active patient treatment areas provide Radford University students invaluable access to real-world clinical experiences.

“Carilion Clinic is proud to have nurtured Jefferson’s growth, as it established a reputation for developing ethical, knowledgeable, competent and caring health care professionals,” said Nancy Howell Agee, president and CEO of Carilion Clinic. “Joining the Radford University family is a wonderful opportunity for Jefferson College. And now is the right time as the vision for a health sciences and technology campus in Roanoke comes to life. Partnerships among leading academic institutions strengthen our region as a destination for health education and research, and ultimately drive economic development.”

Students from both Radford University and Jefferson College will have access to enhanced educational opportunities, including clinical rotations and internships, and Radford University will continue to partner with Carilion Clinic to utilize its facilities and research capabilities. The potential merger will create the second largest nursing program in Virginia.

“The potential merger will allow the health and human services programs from both institutions to have access to ongoing research and enable collaboration in ways not previously available,” Hemphill said. “Our faculty and staff members on both campuses can integrate and better collaborate for the benefit of our students.”

“We are confident this partnership will help better prepare our students by providing access to the latest research and top-notch clinical experiences,” said Hemphill. “We believe this will encourage potential students to seek health care careers and stay in the Commonwealth to work. There’s no doubt this will provide increased access to health care education.”

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