14 of Nebraska’s 93 counties do not have a primary care physician. Stats like these made Paul Kenny, Governor of Central Nebraska’s Sixth District, vote in favor of the complex.
“In my five and a half years, there has never been a topic with so many people on one side of the line,” said Kenny, whose hometown is 15 miles northwest of Kearny.
The rural health complex, which will begin construction in September 2023, will expand the university’s existing medical programs and also open up the possibility of adding colleges of medicine, pharmacy and public health.
UNK and UNMC built a health sciences education facility in Kearney seven years ago. This was the first step in expanding healthcare access in rural areas of the state.
“The addition of a second health science-focused building to UNK will create opportunities for students who want to pursue and practice health careers closer to home. This will help increase access to care in rural areas and help communities thrive,” said Jeffrey Gold, president of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, in a statement. “In short, it will change lives for generations.”
With Thursday’s approval, the university expects the health complex to be completed by the summer of 2025.