North Shore Health Care Foundation invests in simulation technology and training at North Shore Health
Kalli Hawkins

North Shore Health Care Foundation invests in simulation technology and training at North Shore Health

From the North Shore Health Care Foundation Media Release:

The North Shore Health Care Foundation (NSHCF) announced on Mar. 2 during a media conference held outside the ambulance garage at North Shore Health that it is dedicating $30,000 of its 2023 grant budget towards an ‘Investing in Our Future Health Care Workforce Solutions’ initiative.

The initiative is an investment in state-of-the-art simulation manikin technology never previously available in Cook County. The new simulation technology will benefit the hospital and care center at North Shore Health, along with other local health providers and first responder units.

This collaborative initiative led by NSHCF seeks to address critical shortages of emergency medical responders and technicians, as well as certified nurse aids and licensed practical nurses in the area, and maintain fundamental services such as the ambulance service and care center.

The addition of simulation training technology in combination with the recently accredited EMT and EMR training programs developed by North Shore Health will improve access to high quality career training at home in Cook County. Having this training available locally removes the need for students to travel outside of Cook County and take these programs through post-secondary education institutions.

In combination with the simulation technology, these trainings along with the new online training courses for certified nurse aids and programs through Cook County Higher Education, will put Cook County on par with other larger training facilities and provide students with state-of-the-art hands-on learning experiences.

“This investment and collaboration with local healthcare providers will change how and where those interested in health care careers, current health professionals and emergency services units, can complete accredited health care programs and recertification’s,” said Valerie Marasco Eliasen, executive director of NSHCF. “This investment is one dynamic project in the health care foundation’s ‘Investing in Our Future Health Care Workforce Solutions’ initiative that was identified to address the urgent issue, and is within our reach. The foundation exists to support healthcare and address gaps in health services; this is a prime example of where our leadership can benefit healthcare and the community.”

In addition to dedicating $30,000 to the initiative, NSHCF is launching a community matching fundraising campaign, as well as applying for grants to assist with the costs of the initiative.

Due to the urgent need for the equipment and workforce development, NSHCF is purchasing the simulation training technology through a low-interest-short-term loan with Grand Marais State Bank. The overall goal is to raise $80,000 to help implement solutions that will set up Cook County for the next 30 years.

These funds will go towards the purchase of the $57,000 simulation manikin equipment, additional workforce training programs with Sawtooth Mountain Clinic including the second year of the medical assistant (MA) training program and the new pharmacy technician training program. In addition, it will help identify and develop new workforce solutions through collaborative planning.

“2023 marks the Health Care Foundation’s 30th anniversary,” said Inger Andress, president of the NSHCF. “To recognize this important milestone and our role as a guiding light and support for health in Cook County, we are stepping up to make this investment and work strategically with our partners to identify solutions to ensure we preserve access to health care services for our residents. This foundation has been working diligently over the last several years to prepare for the larger projects such as this, and the timing is right to address this urgent and emerging issue.”

Andress added, “This will be the foundation’s largest investment in healthcare training to-date, which is critical to protect the availability of our ambulance service for our residents and visitors, and Care Center at North Shore Health for seniors and families.”

While the fundraising campaign officially launched on Mar. 2, NSHCF has already received a $10,000 donation toward the initiative from a local Schroeder resident Virginia Erickson, who recognizes the value of having a local ambulance service and properly trained EMTs after she suffered a cardiac event in October 2022. Mrs. Erickson dedicated the donation to the initiative in honor of the first responders who saved her life and even made sure her dog was taken care of while she was taken to the hospital.

WTIP attended the Mar. 2 media conference at North Shore Health. Pictures and audio from the event is below: