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$8.1 Million in Illinois Board of Higher Education Capital Funds Targeted for Enhancements to Simulation Facilities, IRP

Capital funds provided by the state of Illinois will help RFU build a virtual health system, expand its simulation center and continue developing the Innovation and Research Park.

The university has been awarded $8.1 million in funds provided by the Illinois Board of Higher Education’s Independent Colleges Capital Investment Grant Program to bolster existing training infrastructure, including renovation of general clinical skills labs, modernization of the gross anatomy lab and purchase of state-of-the-art simulation equipment.

“The IBHE grant is a great example of how RFU is partnering across sectors — government, education, industry and technology — and with community-focused organizations to build more equitable models of care and train the healthcare workforce our state needs,” said RFU President and CEO Dr. Wendy Rheault.

The planned 20,000-square-foot simulation center and virtual health system will integrate novel training methods, emerging health technologies and artificial intelligence to advance patient safety and prepare an interprofessional healthcare workforce for a rapidly changing and increasingly complex healthcare landscape.

The new funds will also enhance RFU’s outreach to community partners who support its academic-to-workforce pathways. The university will expand its capacity for K-12 partnership, working with educators on the use of web-based simulations to teach students about their own health and paths into health care.

An early adopter of healthcare simulation, RFU is an accredited center through the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. Combining advanced technology and methods focused on the human connection, simulation is a highly responsive training platform for skills development, including accurate assessment and diagnosis. At RFU, interprofessional teams of students use simulation to hone decision-making strategies and improve collaboration around care and the promotion of health and wellness.

The grant will also pay for additional development and buildout of the Innovation and Research Park. RFU research labs and six disease-based centers occupy two-thirds of the IRP, with the remaining third available to healthcare industries and startups.

The university completed 14,000-square-feet of wet lab space for bioscience-industry occupancy last spring with $2 million in matching funds through the Rebuild Illinois Wetlab Capital Program.

The IBHE awarded a total of $400 million in grants through the Independent Colleges Capital Investment Grant program in partnership with the Illinois Capital Development Board.

Posted February 1
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