SHU Opens New Center for Healthcare Education

FAIRFIELD—After nearly two years of construction, Sacred Heart University’s new Center for Healthcare Education is ready to open. Staff and faculty from the College of Health Professions and College of Nursing have moved into the state-of-the-art building, and students will begin their studies with the latest technology and modern features there this fall.

The official unveiling will be Friday, September 22, at 11:00 am, and healthcare workshops and lectures will take place throughout the year to celebrate the new facility and inform the community about the importance of health care. For years, the College of Health Professions and College of Nursing operated at the Cambridge building in Trumbull. Construction crews broke ground on the new site in June 2015 and built the three-story, 120,000-square-foot center and 50,000-square-foot parking garage that both sit on 8.7 acres of land. The building was designed by SLAM, a national architectural firm based in Glastonbury and is a $65 million investment for the university. SLAM is also working on the University of Notre Dame’s Campus Crossroads project.

“The expanded space and updated equipment will offer new opportunities for learning and ensure that students graduate well prepared and ready to make their mark in the booming health care industry,” said SHU President John Petillo.

One of those opportunities is the ability of faculty and students to offer multi-professional clinics that will expose both students and patients to a collaborative, holistic approach to services for everyone from children to the elderly. Disciplines that will collaborate in clinical services include athletic training, exercise science, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant and speech-language pathology.

The center also will house laboratory and classroom facilities designed to support a collaborative, team-based learning environment. There is an immersive, acute-care simulation lab with video and data-capture capability to provide enhanced feedback on performance in a clinical setting. Instructors no longer will have to stand over students as they go through a simulation; instead, instructors can record the video and provide guidance afterward, alongside the students.

“We are excited to see years of work come together and to celebrate with the community in September,” said Patricia Walker, dean of the College of Health Professions. “Students will greatly benefit from the new technologies in this building. In addition to allowing us to have new types of labs with emerging technologies, the rooms are larger, allowing collaborative activities involving more than one program. New social spaces both inside and outside the building will encourage more interaction among students and between faculty and students. The center is also closer to the main campus and will allow our faculty and students to participate more in university events. We are grateful to the university leadership for giving us this opportunity.”

The College of Health Professions includes over 1,000 undergraduate, post-baccalaureate and graduate students and 56 full-time faculty members. It offers bachelor’s degrees, graduate certificate programs, master’s degree programs and a doctoral program in physical therapy. U.S. News and World Report ranked SHU’s physical therapy program number one in Connecticut and in the top five in New England.

In the Center for Healthcare Education, enhanced athletic training, human performance and motion-analysis labs will provide up-to-the-minute learning environments for the exercise science and athletic training programs.

(For more information on the Center for Healthcare Education, visit