A Roanoke-based training program for medical professionals will be merged into the Radford University system.
Radford, Jefferson College of Health Sciences and Carilion Clinic announced the merger Thursday. Carilion owns and operates Jefferson College.
Radford President Brian Hemphill says the merger will open new opportunities for both the 1,400 students in Radford’s College of Health and Human Services and the 1,200 Jefferson College students. "We’ve had a long history of offering courses in health and human services in Radford and Roanoke," Hemphill said. What you will likely see at the close of this particular merger is some expansion and growth here in the Roanoke area."
Jefferson College president Nathaniel Bishop says the two schools have already been working together since 2011 in a Doctor of Physical Therapy program. "It helped to promote interaction between those students and students in our college and have them working collaboratively," Bishop said.
Planning for the merger could take up to two years. Jefferson College is a private institution and Radford is a public university. While that might seem to complicate the process, Hemphill said the schools have much in common and both are financially strong.
The move is important for workforce development and recruiting, according to Carilion Chief Administrative Officer Jeanne Armentrout. "We typically have about 200 nurses open at any one time," Armentrout noted. "This is very exciting for us to be able to close those positions and have our clinicians at the bedside."
The merger is the latest of a number of growing partnerships and expansions involving Carilion. "We do like this these public private partnerships that we built," Armentrout admits. "Virginia Tech Carilion is one of those examples. Again, this is just the next phase. But I think as Roanoke continues to grow, health science technologies continue to grow, we will find other opportunities for partnerships to enhance clinical care, education and research."