linois State University and OSF HealthCare announced a partnership aimed at driving healthcare-based advances in research, innovation, and economic development through projects in clinical and patient education, healthcare delivery, and data science.

The program, known as the Connected Communities Initiative (CCI), will allow clinicians, university faculty researchers, and students to collaborate on projects to address real-world healthcare needs.

“We believe expanding academic collaborations can help us create innovative solutions and new care models that provide more access, particularly to underserved populations,” said OSF HealthCare CEO Bob Sehring.

The partnership with Illinois State University will leverage the strengths of faculty and students to help create a pipeline of talent, including cybersecurity experts, health and simulation educators, informaticists, data scientists, biomedical engineers, and others who can support medical visualization innovations for use in virtual, augmented, and mixed reality technologies for healthcare, he continued.

The two organizations have informally worked together in the past, but this announcement formalizes their partnership. The collaboration builds on Illinois State’s expertise in education, health, cybersecurity, biomedical science, visualization, and process improvement. It also expands the organizations’ past work in healthcare, including recent research to improve low childhood vaccination rates.

“There is a long tradition of partnership between OSF and Illinois State, perhaps most clearly with students in clinical placements and in clinical situations,” said Craig C. McLauchlan, PhD, Illinois State’s associate vice president for Research and Graduate Studies, in the press release. “The CCI expands that relationship in the area of research and provides an institutional framework that will allow us to build on already existing collaborations more easily. The partnership will provide students and persons in our community opportunities to contribute to innovation and growth that will benefit many.”

The agreement also indicates that each organization will provide $500,000 in funding annually to support the research and development of strategic solutions to improve patient and provider experience and overall healthcare delivery.

“For OSF HealthCare, the expanded partnership will support the needs of researchers, medical educators, clinicians and most importantly, patients,” said John Vozenilek, MD, vice president and chief medical officer, OSF Innovation and Digital Health, in the press release. “The brightest minds at Illinois State University can help us develop novel solutions with enhanced security and business processes to improve patient care and health outcomes, along with optimizing the use of resources using data. That will become increasingly important as care continues to move from hospital settings to home and as we expand access to patients across all of the regions OSF serves.”

The CCI is built on existing collaborations between OSF Healthcare and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois-Chicago, and Bradley University, alongside a longstanding partnership with the Mennonite College of Nursing at Illinois State.

The initiative also contributes to the work of the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN), which aims to advance inclusive and integrated research, innovation, and economic development across Illinois.


The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a health advice. We would ask you to consult a qualified professional or medical expert to gain additional knowledge before you choose to consume any product or perform any exercise.


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