As a result of a generous grant of $998,395 from Lilly Endowment Inc., Franklin College will begin a new program to prepare students for careers in health care professions. The grant comes as part of the Endowment’s Initiative to Promote Opportunities Through Educational Collaborations.
The Professional Development Program for Health Professions will build on the College’s strengths in pre-health science studies with a new Master’s degree program in Physician Assistant Studies (PAS). Combined with the Master’s degree program in Athletic Training envisioned in the College’s recently adopted strategic plan, the PAS program will be one of two master’s level offerings at the College. Both programs will extend Franklin College’s core academic strengths through extensive collaboration with key partners while helping Hoosiers live healthier, more active, longer lives.
“This grant will strengthen Franklin College’s academic programs and enable us to contribute meaningfully to our whole region,” says President Jay Moseley. “We deeply appreciate the Endowment’s generosity and commitment to higher education in Indiana.” Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College David G. Brailow noted that “preparing students for the health professions has always been a strength at Franklin College, and with the addition of a Physician Assistant Studies program, we will be able to serve students and the health care providers in our region in an entirely new way.”
Before applying for the grant, Franklin College consulted employers in the health care industry who reported a critical need for employees with skills such as communication, critical thinking, teamwork and problem-solving that are associated with a liberal arts education. Further, regional job growth in the health care industry is projected to outpace the supply of qualified professionals. Hence the demand for mid-level primary care providers, such as physician assistants, is high and should increase in the coming years. The College proposes to meet these challenges in two ways:
1. Develop a rigorous and competitive Master’s level degree program to supply the health care sector with well-qualified mid-level primary care practitioners, and
2. Produce young professionals who possess the necessary soft skills and expertise to thrive in the health care industry.
To meet the first objective, Franklin’s Professional Development Program for Health Professions will introduce new co-curricular professional opportunities and internship placements. Annual town meetings for employers and internship providers will ensure that Franklin’s academic programs align with the changing demands of the health care industry.
To meet the second objective, Franklin College will add a Master’s degree program in Physician Assistant Studies (PAS). As Larry Heydon, President/CEO of Johnson Memorial Health, indicated in his letter of support of the College’s program, “Taken together, these programs hold great promise for helping to strengthen the opportunities for employment in the health care industry in Johnson County and the surrounding area.”
By preparing health care professionals whose scientific knowledge is undergirded by the liberal arts skills now in high demand in the health care industry, the new program will create additional opportunities for Franklin College students and fill critical employment gaps in the health care industry of central Indiana.
Franklin College has a strong track record when it comes to educating students majoring in the sciences or pre-professional health programs. One out of every five of its graduates in recent years has majored in the sciences or pre-professional health programs. Since 1981, eighty-three percent of its graduates who apply to medical school are accepted, more than 1.5 times the national rate.
For more information, contact the Franklin College Office of Marketing and Communications at (317) 738-8185.
About Franklin College
Founded in 1834, Franklin College is a residential four-year undergraduate liberal arts institution with a scenic, wooded campus located 20 minutes south of downtown Indianapolis. The college prepares men and women for challenging careers and fulfilling lives through the liberal arts, offering its approximately 1,000 students 28 majors, 36 minors and eight pre-professional programs. In 1842, the college began admitting women, becoming the first coeducational institution in Indiana and the seventh in the nation. Franklin College maintains a voluntary association with the American Baptist Churches USA. For more information, visit www.FranklinCollege.edu.
About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly and his two sons, Eli and J.K. Jr., with gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical company. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. More information can be found at www.lillyendowment.org.