Freeman Health System donates to CHC/SEK’s new John Parolo Education Center
PITTSBURG – On Tuesday, Freeman Health System invested in the next generation of rural healthcare professionals through a $1,000,000 donation to the new John Parolo Education Center building at Community at Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, Pittsburg.
The building project, set to break ground in May, expects to grow the number of primary care physicians in the region as well as other healthcare disciplines. By 2025, Kansas is projected to need an additional 290 primary care physicians just to meet current needs; many rural counties no longer have a dentist. Kansas is experiencing a major exodus of its under-30 population seeking professional opportunities elsewhere.
“The overwhelming support and generosity of Freeman Health System most certainly demonstrates their true commitment to the future of healthcare in southeast Kansas,” said Krista Postai, CHC/SEK President and CEO. “This is an investment not only in health education, but in the lives of hundreds of our young people who will now have the opportunity to train locally and then serve the communities in which there were raised.”
Since inception, CHC/SEK has served as a medical training site for healthcare students from all disciplines. It has affiliation agreements with 50 different organizations dedicated to healthcare education and more than 400 students receive training annually within its walls.
Southeast Kansas is critically underserved in all areas of healthcare and, like all of rural Kansas, is seeing its health resources erode and is challenged to recruit health professionals who typically practice within 75 miles of where they have trained. Studies show that only 2 percent of new doctors want to practice in town with less than 25,000 residents.
To bring training opportunities to southeast Kansas, CHC/SEK is building a state-of-the-art $5 million, 16,000 sq. ft. facility which will include learning laboratories, classroom and conference rooms designed to support medical and dental residents.
There will be a rural medicine training program for physicians and physician assistants, and post-graduate clinical training for licensure of multiple professionals including pharmacists, social workers and psychologists among others.
“This is indeed a dream come true and we are honored that Freeman CEO Paula Baker – who grew up just a few blocks from where this health education center will be built – shares our vision of training health professionals that are fully committed to the people they serve,” Postai said. “We are extremely appreciative for their willingness – especially in the midst of a worldwide pandemic – to look beyond today to a better, healthier tomorrow.”
About Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas
Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas (CHC/SEK) is a non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center dedicated to providing affordable, high quality medical, dental, behavioral health, and pharmacy services to everyone, regardless of income or insurance status. For more information, visit www.chcsek.org.
About Freeman Health System
Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. For more information, visit www.freemanhealth.com