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After years of work and collaboration, Colorado Mesa University students and faculty in some health-related fields have a new facility to call their own. At noon on Friday, January 21, Colorado Mesa University, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, the City of Grand Junction and Community Hospital will celebrated the grand opening of the St. Mary’s Medical Education Center.

“This project wouldn’t be where it is today without the support of St. Mary’s, the City of Grand Junction and Community Hospital. We’re grateful that our community partners recognized the need for this facility and the value it brings to our region,” said Foundation CEO and Vice President of Development Robin Brown. “It truly was a collaborative effort that exemplifies the power of working together.”

The project, which has been a decade in the making, is a 24,202-square-foot facility that will educate and train students to be qualified physician assistants (PAs), occupational therapists (OTs) and physical therapists (PTs) who will meet the healthcare needs of the region. St. Mary’s $3 million-dollar contribution, which established a new high watermark for the university, was essential in preparing the future healthcare workforce in western Colorado.

“Both St. Mary’s and CMU have a regional mission to serve,” said St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center President Bryan Johnson. “While CMU educates students, we serve the community health and wellness needs of western Colorado. The two purposes intersect. And many of our nurses and medical professionals are hired from CMU. The new St. Mary’s Medical Education Center will be essential for addressing educational needs and future community healthcare needs as well.”

In addition to St. Mary’s, Community Hospital contributed $1 million as did the City of Grand Junction. Furthermore, CMU received nearly 30 more additional gifts to help build the new facility.

“Our contribution to help support the new PA/PT/OT program is an investment in the education of individuals looking to go into the healthcare field. Western Colorado has a growing need for healthcare professionals and Community Hospital is proud to be a part of this endeavor,” said Chris Thomas, Community Hospital president and chief executive officer.

“The City has long recognized CMU’s critical role in preparing students for rewarding careers in our community, especially careers in the medical field. We are very proud to partner with CMU on the construction of this new educational facility. We look forward to many community health benefits that will be provided by the next generation of medical professionals,” added Grand Junction Mayor Chuck McDaniel.

The center is made up of 12 classrooms and labs, including a cadaver lab, group study areas and office space for staff. The colocation of these programs will create synergy between the disciplines and enable interdisciplinary collaboration.

“In addition to a much-needed building, this new facility helps create an infrastructure where we can more easily adapt the needs of each organization to one another’s, and work together to prepare students to enter the medical and healthcare workforce,” said CMU Physician Assistant Studies Program Director Amy Bronson, EdD.

The event included guided tours and commemorative speeches from CMU President John Marshall, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center President Bryan Johnson and more.



Written by Kelsey Coleman