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It’s a common sight in Northeast Ohio. Travelling down the highway as you approach an exit, on one side of the road, there’s a shiny new outpost of the Cleveland Clinic, on the other side, one belonging to University Hospital. A few exits down the highway, you might see the exact same thing. In town after town, you come across facilities for both. It’s an indication of just how dynamic the overall healthcare industry is and how the marketplace is evolving. For seven weeks, WKSU News will examine various facets of the economic impact of the healthcare industry in “The Business of Health.” The series provides an overarching look at how big medicine directly and indirectly affects the lives of the residents of Northeast Ohio and whether they’re sharing in the economic benefits and getting the healthcare options they need at a cost they can afford. That’s Tuesday’s during December and January on Morning Edition.

Feeding the Workforce: Higher Ed Adapts

Amanda Rabinowitz

  Team NEO forecasts the region will need an additional 37,000 healthcare professionals over the next decade -- Trained not only in new technology but how to work as a team.  In our latest installment in “The Business of Health,” we visit Northeast Ohio medical schools as they form partnerships, expand campuses and implement technology.

This spring, the Bio-Med Science Academy graduates its first class. It’s a year-round public high school on the campus of Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown. At a recent information session, BioMed’s Stephanie Lammlein told prospective parents and kids how the school is leading the way in a new STEM model, education centered on science, technology, engineering, math and medicine.

"It’s not social studies from 9-10, biology 10-11. When you go to social studies, you’re learning things that you’re going to be learning about and webbing that into biology. So it keeps this web going and growing," Lammlein says. 

Bio-Med says there’s is the first high school on the campus of a medical university in the country, which means students like Devin Mathie and McKinley Whipkey get to work in NEOMED’s labs.

Credit Amanda Rabinowitz
Bio-Med Academy students Devin Mathie and McKinley Whipkey

We don’t only learn from the book, we learn how to apply what we learn for the real world," Whipkey says. "Half of the day is actually dedicated to our own personal projects and internships. It’s all based on what you want to do in the future," says Mathie. 

Preparing students for the needs of today's patients
That type of on-the-job training is a model that higher education is also adopting. Case Western Reserve University was picked by the American Medical Association to join a consortium of 20 colleges to develop a system that trains physicians to meet the needs of today's patients and to anticipate future changes. Vice Dean Patricia Thomas says a group of students in a pilot program will work as navigators to coordinate healthcare for about 20 Cleveland area veterans and refugees.  

Credit Cleveland Clinic
The Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University are building a 485,000-square-foot health education campus expected to open in summer 2019

"It’s not just about student satisfaction, but this grant particularly is about having good patient outcomes and that’s going to be key," Thomas says. 

"In this building, they’ll be in study zones, communities of physicians, nurses in areas where they can collaborate, work together and have team work."


Thomas says it’s important that today’s medical students also learn how to integrate into the greater healthcare system. That’s why Case and the Cleveland Clinic are building a half-billion dollar health education campus to replace scattered facilities.Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine Dean Dr. James Young says that will encourage them to work in teams from the very beginning. 

"Health care is going to be provided in medical neighborhoods in the future," Young says. "It’s going to be population-management based. So, in this building, they’ll be in study zones, communities of physicians, nurses in areas where they can collaborate, work together and have team work."

Credit Amanda Rabinowitz
WKSU public radio
Most medical school classes, like this nutrition class at NEOMED, keep them to small groups working closely together as a team

Focusing on efficiency 
The schools are focusing on making healthcare education more efficient.

The Center of Health Affairs estimates Northeast Ohio will need 4,000 nurses by 2020. So, Baldwin Wallace University and University Hospitals Case Medical Center have teamed up to offer a new accelerated nursing program. The 12-month degree will likely lead to jobs with University Hospitals. Program Director James Fell says advanced nursing degrees are in demand as baby boomers retire.

"You take some of the specialties like post-anesthesia care and operating room, that’s typically the type of role that an experienced nurse goes into after they’ve worked kind of worked their way up. But these arrangements will prepare a new graduate to at least step into these roles," Fell says.

Amanda Rabinowitz is the host of “All Things Considered” on Ideastream Public Media.