In association with the 150th anniversary of Loyola’s opening, President Jo Ann Rooney announced Monday the launch of the Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health which will be a new school and independent of the Stritch School of Medicine.
Gifted through a donation of over $20 million dollars to the university by former Baxter International CEO Robert Parkinson and his wife Elizabeth, the school will broaden the university’s health care education with an end goal of promoting community well-being, the release said. The donation is the largest since Rooney’s arrival in 2016.
“The Parkinson School of Health Sciences and Public Health will address the increasing need for health care workers with a variety of skill sets, who will be trained to be leaders, researchers, and caregivers of the future,” the release said. “The healthcare industry is changing and so is Loyola.”
The school will offer both undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as certificate and continuing professional education programs.
Initially announced in an internal memo in November, the purpose for the new school is reportedly “a response to dynamic changes in health care that require professionals to have broad skills and cutting-edge experience to lead the future of health care delivery.” Rooney confirmed this initiative to The Phoenix Monday.
“We gathered this through a true analysis of where the future is looking like in health care and health related fields going forward,” Rooney said. “So we could create a path for students of the future and employees of the future but it’s also the employers of the future saying ‘these are the types of professionals we need.’”
Aimed at educating the increasing number of students entering the medical field at Loyola, the program will begin this fall. Building plans, a location and a budget for a new building are expected to be finalized in the next calendar year, according to Rooney.
“Over the next twelve months, give or take, we’ll have a much better definition around what kind of a space we’re looking at, what type of building that will be, what the size will be and what it’s financial requirements will be,” Rooney said.
With the announcement of the new school, Rooney said the development will help Loyola remain among the most competitive in Chicago among students seeking to join the health industry.
“In terms of the overall expansion of health sciences this puts us in a very strong competitive situation,” Rooney said.
The school and its degree programs are scheduled to open in fall 2019, with a series of majors including health systems management, dietetics and exercise science moving over from the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Rooney said there will be “a number of new programs” as the school progresses.
Clarification: A previous version of this article said the school was an undergraduate school, but it is set to provide various programs.