SAU physician assistant program, addition dedicated
By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Just four years ago St. Ambrose University dedicated its Center for Health Sciences Education at Genesis, said Sister Joan Lescinski, CSJ, the university’s president. On Aug. 14, a 13,000-square-foot addition for the new master of physician assistant program was dedicated.
The $3.5 million addition features a clinical skills lab, exam suite that simulates a medical office practice setting and emergency and trauma care. The addition also includes a lecture hall, classrooms, study and meeting areas and offices.
“Students in St. Ambrose’s new master of physician assistant studies program are preparing for rewarding careers in these state-of-the-art facilities,” said Sr. Lescinski. “Through this new program and expanded academic space, St. Ambrose continues in its commitment to serve the community by preparing highly qualified health care professionals to address local and regional needs.”
Sr. Lescinski said the facility was the result of the generosity of many and a “wonderful collaboration with Genesis Health System.” Genesis donated the land on which the health sciences facility is located.
Jordan Voigt, speaking on behalf of the 5,000 men and women at Genesis, said, “Thank you for your partnership.”
Bishop Martin Amos blessed the building, praying to God for “peace to abide in this building and in all who assemble here. Inspire knowledge, wisdom and deep respect for the goodness of human life. Foster within students your grace, so that they may grasp, retain and be able to put into practice the lessons they are taught and the skills for the healing and building up of your people.”
After sprinkling holy water on the building’s exterior, he blessed Clare Kennedy, director of the physician assistant program, and student Lexi Cessna.
Following the traditional ribbon cutting with Chamber of Commerce ambassadors, Sr. Lescinski noted that dedicated faculty, staff, excellent programs and state-of-the-art facilities further the university’s mission of enriching lives.
During a tour after the dedication, Kennedy showed visitors a simulation dummy that can be programmed to run various scenarios so students can practice any number of possible health issues they may encounter. The scenarios can be recorded and reviewed with medical personnel or observed through a one-way mirror.
Kennedy, who has been involved in the planning process for two years, observed that “St. Ambrose and the community have been so supportive for us to develop this high quality program.”
In June, 30 students became the first cohort of the 29-month program which runs straight through without summer breaks. The next cohort of 30 students begins next year.
“We are preparing them to go directly into the workforce. There is a big need in communities,” Kennedy said.
The physician assistant program is the only one in the Quad Cities and western Illinois region, and one of only 181 such programs nationwide.
Mayor’s stadium veto stands
By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Mayor Bill Gluba’s veto of a request to rezone the St. Vincent Center complex for a sports facility for St. Ambrose University stands. The Davenport City Council did not have enough votes Aug. 13 to override the veto.
The proposed complex featured a football stadium with a track and several practice and game fields for other sports to be built at the St. Vincent Center complex, which the university owns, a few blocks north of the main campus.
Earlier this year the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission approved the process to move forward and after several City Council meetings, aldermen voted 6-4 in favor of rezoning. Mayor Gluba exercised his prerogative to veto the project, the first time he has used the veto during his mayoral term.
Mike Poster, St. Ambrose’s vice president for finance, said the university is disappointed. The project has been in the works for four years and involved listening to neighbors’ concerns, studies, design and acceptance of several conditions recommended by the city council in order to build the complex.
“We were disappointed we couldn’t find another alderman to change his vote,” Poster said.
As for the future, Poster said the university was so focused on the proposed plan as the best option for the university and the city that St. Ambrose will have to take a step back and examine options.