Wichita State University’s College of Health Professions and Ascension Via Christi’s Wichita hospitals have created a unique affiliation that will bring students from the School of Nursing and the School of Health Sciences into the hospitals, providing them close access to working professionals in a teaching hospital setting.

Ascension Via Christi’s hospitals will provide office and classroom space in the hospitals, while the affiliation will provide a framework for WSU and Ascension Via Christi to help fuel the pipeline of trained health care professionals entering the field. and  enhance opportunities for current and future Ascension Via Christi associates and WSU students.

“This collaboration connects our students with advanced professional opportunities, addresses the need for qualified health care workers in our state, and further establishes Wichita as a health care hub for our region.  It also increases access and affordability to working health care professionals looking to enhance their education through Wichita State,” said Wichita State Provost and Executive Vice President Shirley Lefever in a joint press release from WSU and Ascension Via Christi.

Kevin Strecker, ministry market leader for Ascension Via Christi, said the affiliation aligns well with the health care system’s mission and efforts to recruit and retain the associates needed to ensure high-quality, compassionate care.  

“WSU wants to expand the enrollment capacity of its College of Health Professions degree programs, and we hope many of those students will choose to pursue their calling at Ascension Via Christi,” Strecker said.   

The WSU and Via Christi affiliation also includes a commitment to continuing its collaboration in other ways, including research and innovation, public health initiatives, and youth education on health-related careers.  

“Ultimately the primary beneficiary of this affiliation will be the patients, patients’ families, and communities throughout Kansas that WSU and Ascension Via Christi serve,” Strecker said.  

Wichita State President Rick Muma says WSU is committed to serving the community through this and similar health care initiatives, such as the Wichita Biomedical Campus, a plan by WSU, WSU Tech and the University of Kansas to build an approximately 470,000 square foot, $300 million shared biomedical campus in the heart of downtown Wichita. 

Ascension Via Christi and its associates will benefit from having an expanded pool of qualified health care professionals from which to recruit, many of whom will have trained with them in on-site clinical rotations and other learning opportunities.  

Qualified Ascension Via Christi associates also will have expanded access to professional development and interprofessional and continuing education, including:   

  • Preferred RN-to-BSN tuition and fees starting in the fall 2023 semester.
  • Priority placement in College of Health Professions programs starting in the fall 2023 semester,
  • The opportunity to serve in adjunct faculty roles.