BREAKING: NKU announces partnership with St. Elizabeth


Photo provided by NKU

The NKU Heath Innovations Center will sit in between the Science Center, Founders Hall and Griffin Hall when it is completed. The project is set to start in October 2015 and be completed in 2018.

This morning NKU President Geoffrey Mearns addressed over 150 students, faculty, staff and community members in the Student Union Ballroom to announce the university’s new partnership with St. Elizabeth Healthcare for the Health Innovations Center, which is set to start construction at the end of October.

The $8 million donated by St. Elizabeth is the second largest gift in NKU’s 48-year history; second to the $15 million gifted by the Haile U.S. Bank Foundation to the NKU College of Business in 2008.

“When I learned of the concept for the center I was struck by innovation and forward thinking,” Garren Colvin, CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare, said. “Their goals for this center are in line with the challenges that healthcare professionals face on a daily basis.”

In 2014, NKU received its first financial investment from elected officials of $97 million toward the Health Innovations Center.

Mearns is confident that the center’s initiatives will bring together disciplines and programs from all across the university, including nursing, psychology, data analytics and other programs.

“We’ll bring programs together to respond to the health and wellness challenges of the region and the commonwealth,” Mearns said. “There is a well-documented need to expand existing programs and to create new ways to educate our healthcare professionals.”

According to Mearns, the $8 million investment will directly support the design and construction of simulation facilities in the new St. Elizabeth Healthcare Simulation Center.

The simulation center will span two floors and function as a comprehensive virtual care facility providing a full range of training including simulation space, several clinical skills suites, nursing suites, imaging suites and several collaborative spaces.

The simulation center will be designed to support active learning through standardized patient encounters, outpatient scenarios, hybrid simulations, transitional care in the home or rehabilitation environment and high tech simulation equipment, which will provide students with vital exposure and training in a safe and controlled setting.

“The new cross-functional educational experience will undoubtedly be the best in class in producing health care leaders and providers of the future,” Colvin said. “The ongoing education and training for our staff and clinicians is of utmost importance to us.”

According to Mearns, it is the university’s hope that this innovative approach will become a model for other institutions and communities all across the nation.

“This concept is ambitious, and it requires a partnership and support of the community to achieve success,” Mearns said. “It is a gift that will benefit student, faculty, staff, most importantly, will provide a great benefit to the community we serve together.”

There were many students from various disciplines in attendance at Mearns’ address today.

“Eight million dollars is a great chunk of change; teachers have been talking about this forever,” Sean Cooney, senior nursing major said. “This will provide an opportunity for future works with St. Elizabeth. It’s a great contribution to the school and the Commonwealth.”

In the midst of positive changes and adjustments, Coordinator of New Student Engagement, Jeff Iker, said he is excited about the partnership.

“It’s a fantastic and obvious relationship,” Iker said. “I’m glad to see St. Elizabeth stepped up. It will benefit them in the future.”

The Health Innovation Center is expected to open in 2018. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Oct. 21. More information can be found at