two nursing students tend to a patient mannequin in MWSU nursing simulation lab.

Through the MoExcels initiative, Missouri Western’s nursing simulation lab will be expanded and updated.

June 17, 2019—Missouri Western State University’s School of Nursing and Health Professions will receive a grant from the Missouri Department of Higher Education to increase capacity and better meet the healthcare workforce needs of the region through a partnership with Mosaic Life Care and others.

The state budget signed by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson includes $557,744 for Missouri Western through MDHE’s MoExcels workforce initiative. The funding will be matched locally with donations from Mosaic Life Care, Mosaic Auxiliary, the Heartland Foundation and the Missouri Western State University Foundation. The initiative will allow the School of Nursing and Health Professions to establish a Center of Excellence in Applied Health Care Learning, expand classroom size and simulation laboratory space, enhance technology in the labs and promote job exploration opportunities to high school and college students who may be interested in the healthcare field.

“Missouri Western is exceptionally proud of the outstanding graduates in the health professions who have gone on to rewarding careers at Mosaic and other local providers throughout northwest Missouri,” said Dr. Robert Vartabedian, Missouri Western’s president. “I’m excited that we’re going to deepen our partnership with these providers to help us meet one of the greatest workforce needs in our region and in our state. I’m very grateful to Gov. Parson and MDHE, to Mosaic Life Care and to the more than 20 organizations who have expressed their support of this initiative.”

“Creating partnerships with community and regional organizations so we can discover innovative ways to recruit, train and retain nurses and other health-care professionals is vital in this competitive job market,” said Mark Laney, MD, CEO, Mosaic Life Care. “We want to make sure we keep our highly trained and sought-after caregivers here in our community and offer them opportunities to learn and grow.”

The partnership will increase the number of graduates receiving a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Missouri Western by 15 percent. It will also increase intended majors in all health-related fields by 5 percent and increase Master of Science in Nursing admissions by 10 percent.

The Center of Excellence in Applied Health Care Learning, or CEAHL, will allow Missouri Western to expand partnerships with regional health care providers for clinical education, ensuring that Missouri Western’s education and training programs are responsive to current and future workforce needs.

“One of the things that sets Missouri Western apart is our statewide mission of applied learning, and this partnership will build on that foundation by providing more real-world learning opportunities outside of the classroom,” said Dr. Crystal Harris, associate dean of the School of Nursing and Health Professions. “There is a critical shortage of healthcare workers in the region and our goal is to address that shortage by developing a pipeline of local talent with the required skills and training to succeed in the workplace.”

The laboratory expansion will not only benefit Missouri Western students. The state-of-the-art simulation lab will also be available for community use, to provide education and job exploration opportunities to visiting high school students and employees of community partners.

The School of Nursing and Health Professions offers undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing as well as undergraduate programs in health information management, physical therapist assistant and population health management.

Missouri Western State University is a comprehensive regional university providing a blend of traditional liberal arts and professional degree programs. The university offers student-centered, high quality instruction that focuses on experience-based learning, community service, and state-of-the-art technology. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit