New UNK complex to bring specialized training to central Nebraska

Dr. Kyle Meyer

With construction of a $19 million Health Science Education Complex set to begin after the first of the year on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus, a delegation from the University of Nebraska Medical Center is touring the state to talk about it.

The new complex, which is a partnership of several entities including UNK and UNMC, will house the university's nursing program and several allied health programs. Dr. Kyle Meyer, the senior associate dean of the School of Allied Health Professions at UNMC, explained what allied health professions are in a conversation with KRVN News.

"Perhaps the best way to think about it is what we are not," Meyer said. "Everybody knows physicians, dentists, nurses, and pharmacists. Allied Health are all the other professions."

Meyer said 100 to 200 professions are considered Allied Health. UNMC currently offers 13 such programs in Omaha. The initial offerings in Kearney won't be quite so broad, but Meyer thinks they could expand in the relative near future.

"We'll be bringing physical therapy, the physician assistant program and clinical laboratory science to the UNK campus," Meyer said. "Those will be our biggest programs. We'll also have radiography and even think about bringing along some smaller programs in the next few years."

Meyer said that unlike nursing, UNMC has not moved Allied Health training outside of Omaha, despite the fact that the program has been around since the mid-1970s. The new complex in Kearney will bring opportunities to students in central and western Nebraska to study without having to go to Omaha.

"It will afford students in the area to complete their degrees at UNK. There is a large population of students at UNK, and in the region, that have interest in health professions," Meyer said. "We hope to be able to accommodate those students with the intent to prepare them for rural practice and in turn keep them in central and western Nebraska."

The new complex will be built on the corner of Highway 30 and University Drive, just west of the West Center Building on the UNK campus.

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