Westchester’s Health Sciences School Drives Post-Pandemic Jobs

Photo by Ben Hinder

NewYork-Presbyterian teams up with Iona College to provide a $20 million grant for the creation of a cutting-edge, new school.

Iona College and NewYork-Presbyterian have teamed up to establish the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, with a gift of $20 million dollars from NewYork-Presbyterian to create the school.

The school is expected to offer a new vision for collaborative health care education, modern workforce development, and community care. Iona College anticipates that classes, to be held at the former Concordia campus which Iona purchased in May, will begin during the fall of 2022.

We spoke to Iona President Seamus Carey for some insight into how the college plans to move forward.

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What drove this partnership between Iona College and New York Presbyterian?

When I first joined Iona in July 2019, I made one thing very clear: we couldn’t keep doing things the same old way. Then COVID-19 expedited the need to innovate. Despite the challenges, we took a long-term view and continued to look for new ways to do things, especially for new ways to build strategic partnerships.

As for the Concordia campus, we knew we wanted to move in the direction of health sciences, because that’s where there is the strongest demand. Job growth in those fields is projected to continue rising over the next decade. Iona has a history of empowering students by preparing them for careers that contribute to the social good and drive upward mobility. Careers in the health sciences will reinforce that success.

NewYork-Presbyterian is the number one hospital in New York. It also has a location right in Bronxville. This exciting new relationship with NewYork-Presbyterian is a unique opportunity to shape the future of Iona College, train the next generation of health care professionals, and support the communities we serve.

How will you build upon the already existing health science programs?

We’ll start with a focus on our existing degrees and programs, including Communication Sciences & Disorders; Marriage & Family Therapy; Mental Health Counseling; Nursing; Occupational Therapy; Psychology; Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; and Social Work.  But looking toward the future, we’ll be developing programs that continue to meet the needs of our students and our local workforce.  Most immediately, we’d look to develop programs such as:  Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist; Clinical Nurse Specialist; Medical Technician; Nursing Administration and Education; Physical Therapy and Speech Therapy.

Concordia campus photo by Ben Hinder
Concordia campus photo by Ben Hinder

What do you see in the future for the health science industry? 

About 25 percent of Iona’s 2021 incoming freshman class is expected to pursue health sciences. We also just launched a nursing program last year in the fall of 2020, and we instantly had four times more qualified applicants than spots we could fill. Our challenge – which we are taking on in developing the NewYork-Presbyterian School of Health Sciences – is to build the infrastructure, partnerships, and programs to be able to ensure we have a pipeline of necessary talent for the industry, as well as the communities we serve.

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How will this coincide with the purchase of Concordia College?

To realize our plan for Iona, we simply needed more space. So, in addition to housing the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, the Bronxville campus will host a range of seminars, performing arts, athletics, art exhibits and summer camps, with an eye toward enhancing student life and student engagement across a wide range of opportunities.

What resources will you be sharing with NYP to power the program and curriculum? 

Iona College will commit its existing health sciences faculty to this new school, as well as the new faculty hires that will result from our expansion. Iona College will also renovate existing buildings on the Bronxville campus to deliver cutting-edge instruction. At the same time, NewYork-Presbyterian will determine the market demands and be able to help guide the development of our programs to ensure there are trained professionals meeting the needs of the health care marketplace. I expect this new venture will become a model for mission-based collaboration between higher education and health care in the service of the public good.


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