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Hartford HealthCare, Quinnipiac Academic Partnership Will Redefine Healthcare Education, Grow State’s Workforce Pipeline and Expand On-Campus Care

January 19, 2022

With an ongoing workforce shortage and even more dire predictions for the future, Hartford HealthCare (HHC) and Quinnipiac University (QU) are partnering to build the workforce of tomorrow and grow student pipelines across a wide range of professions — including healthcare — to address long-term talent needs for Connecticut, and beyond.

The two organizations’ collaboration, announced at a press conference Jan. 19 in Hamden, centers around three core areas: redefining healthcare education, providing Quinnipiac with high-quality, coordinated health and wellness services for students, athletes, faculty and staff, and developing and growing the state’s workforce pipeline.

HHC also will make an investment in QU and the future of the state’s workforce through a $5 million philanthropic commitment to the university over five years.

Gillian Chung, a senior nursing student at Quinnipiac, worked for two summers at Hartford HealthCare and its Bone & Joint Institute. Under the new partnership, more students will get that kind of experience and clinical training.

“It was an awesome experience,” Chung said. “I decided to continue working the following summer. Following those two years of being an OR aide, I got accepted into the OR Nurse Fellowship program at Hartford HealthCare. I believe this partnership is mutually beneficial . . . and will provide students like me with valuable long term experiences.”

The Governor’s Workforce Council in October 2020 reported that the demand for healthcare-related jobs in Connecticut exceeds 7,000 employees a year, with comparable skill gaps in a variety of other industries. Nationally, there are estimates that more than 1.2 million nurses will need to be trained, and that approximately 124,000 physicians will be trained, said Hartford HealthCare President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey A. Flaks.

The Hartford HealthCare-Quinnipiac partnership will play a key role in growing and retaining talent and jobs in Connecticut by growing academic programs that are rooted in the latest marketplace needs and addressing sectors experiencing — or anticipating — talent shortages.

“We are thrilled to partner with a leading institution like Quinnipiac University to educate and prepare the next generation of health care workers which will address the future needs of our state,” Flaks said. “This creative partnership will make a difference for the workforce ahead as we create new training and educational vehicles for colleagues and build an essential pipeline to many rewarding careers, beyond healthcare, right here in Connecticut.”

“As a university deeply committed to the physical, emotional and overall well-being of our students, this new partnership with Hartford HealthCare will enhance the on-campus health services and coordinated care we deliver,” said Quinnipiac President Judy D. Olian. “Our far-reaching collaboration will significantly enhance healthcare education both inside and outside the classroom, as well as the training and job opportunities available to Quinnipiac students all across the university.”

Details of the partnership include:

Advanced, coordinated on-campus healthcare.

Quinnipiac will contract with Hartford HealthCare’s Campus Care program to provide high quality, coordinated health and wellness services, to manage students’ complete care needs, from physical and mental well-being to athletic training for the university’s Division I athletes.

QU campus medical records will transition to HHC’s EPIC MyChartPLUS platform, making healthcare data more accessible and portable to improve and simplify the coordination of care across all providers.

Current Quinnipiac staff providing clinical Student Health Services, clinical counseling services, and athletic trainers will be offered employment with Hartford HealthCare Medical Group, subject to the group’s policies and procedures, but will remain in their existing roles and continue working on QU’s campuses.

Redefining healthcare education.

Connecticut residents and businesses will benefit from this partnership, which advances healthcare equity and access, and addresses critical workforce needs.

Examples of the work HHC will undertake with the Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences:

  • Significantly expand the breadth and number of clinical rotations for our students while they pursue their degrees, and job opportunities after graduation.
  • Support QU in growing the size of its nursing, health sciences and graduate medical education programs.
  • Partner with the QU Netter School of Medicine on the development of graduate medical education curricula and in recruiting clinical faculty.

Workforce development and growth in student pipelines.

HHC will collaborate with QU to alleviate current and future talent shortages across many professional fields by building college-to-career pipelines that offer immersive and clinical learning experiences and rotations, retain graduate talent in-state, and encourage upskilling and lifelong learning for those already employed.

For example:

  • QU’s School of Business will create a leadership development program to educate HHC’s developing leaders, from individual contributors to senior executive and physician leadership.
  • HHC will create practicums, internships, research and capstone opportunities for undergraduate and graduate programs across QU’s 8 professional schools and the College of Arts and Sciences, which may range from fields like supply chain management and computing, to data analytics, finance and legal compliance, communications and biomechanical engineering, to name a few.
  • Quinnipiac will offer professional development and upskilling opportunities to the health system’s 33,000 colleagues; all HHC employees and dependents will be eligible for a tuition discount at QU.

Flaks said the partnership will help provide “more scholarships, more fellowships, more residencies, more physician and clinical fellowships, more ways to train more people.” He said the new partnership is a prime example of HHC addressing the needs of the community — including behavioral health.

“We’re going to create more psychiatrists through our new training programs so we have more people to help us address the absolutely central needs within our communities around behavioral health.” Flaks said.

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