The University of Nebraska System has released the newest episode of its “Leading Nebraska” podcast series. The podcast episode highlights a partnership between the University of Nebraska at Kearney and University of Nebraska Medical Center to develop a transformational Rural Health Education Building on the Kearney campus.
Critical shortages in health care workers are having a significant impact on Nebraskans across the state. Nineteen of Nebraska’s 93 counties don’t have a primary care doctor – and more than half the counties in the state lack a board-certified physician.
“We are essentially in a crisis or near-crisis situation regarding access to health care professionals in rural Nebraska,” said UNMC Chancellor Jeff Gold.
To combat these critical shortages, UNMC began training nursing and allied health students in Kearney in 2015 at UNK’s Health Science Education Complex. Since then, more than 85% of graduates from the Kearney programs have started their careers in rural Nebraska.
With support from the Nebraska Legislature, UNK and UNMC are building on that success with the construction of a new three-story, 100,000-square-foot Rural Health Education Building, set to open in early 2026.
When it opens, the building will expand existing offerings to more than 300 students and add on programs in the Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy and Public Health. UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen believes the new facility will bring economic benefits to the state and strengthen the talent pipeline of health professionals.
The construction of the facility will deliver an economic impact of $30-$50 million to the state, and the impact of additional programs at UNK will benefit all Nebraskans.
“Once we put these students into the rural health system, their impact in each of those communities will continue to grow,” Kristensen said.
Listeners may follow the “Leading Nebraska” podcast here.