When the founders of the La Crosse Medical Health Sciences Consortium decided to create a collaboration of health care and higher education, they knew that they had an exciting opportunity in front of them. Not only were they creating a unique place where health care students could learn alongside practicing medical professionals, they were also on the forefront of a new national model which would pave the way in how regional health care was provided.
The Consortium, a group of five public and private health care and educational partners, had a vision to promote education, primary health care and research in western Wisconsin, northeastern Iowa and southeastern Minnesota. The group teamed with Kahler Slater to design a building that would bring this vision to life by providing hands-on, interdisciplinary educational experiences integrated into a practicing health care environment. Multiple user group workshops helped the two organizations identify how the various educational, health care and research programs would come together to provide a new standard for academic health care collaboration. Leveraging the curriculum of the educational partners, the group was able to integrate learning experiences into the clinic environment in the areas of nursing, radiology, dental, physical therapy, exercise, and sports physiology. Through distance learning capabilities; which are incorporated into all classrooms, laboratories and conference rooms; universities outside of the geographic area are able to benefit from the Consortium’s educational model. The La Crosse Health Science Center’s working and learning clinic serves the local community as well as the student populations of the three educational partners in the Consortium.