Penn Valley's Health Science Institute - a Virtual Hospital in the Heart of Kansas City

By Sandy McIlnay
Director of Health Science, MCC-Penn Valley Health Science Institute

This year Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley was proud to open the new state-of-the-art Health Science Institute at 34th and Broadway, in the bustling urban core of Kansas City, Missouri. It opens at an opportune time when two societal needs are simultaneously increasing – the need for college education and the need for health care. It has become nearly impossible in today’s world to earn a decent living without a college education, and the need for health care, due to a growing and aging population, is projected to significantly increase. These needs are even greater in urban areas with diverse populations such as Kansas City.

The Health Science Institute (HSI) addresses these needs by providing a unique state-of-the-art learning facility that offers true-to-life health care simulation scenarios in a sustainably renovated 190,000 square foot building. The HSI is designed to increase simulated, experiential, multidisciplinary, problem-based learning by using high-tech learning suites modeled after current, real life health care departments.

The HSI’s one-of-a-kind virtual hospital is designed to provide students with a simulated hospital experience. Features include Cerner’s electronic health record and medication system, overhead paging, functional hospital rooms such as emergency, ICU, and OB Labor and Delivery. Twelve incredibly life-like, computer-operated human patient simulators mimic various patient scenarios and ailments.

Several programmatic suites such as surgery, health information technology, nursing, and occupational and physical therapy are all stocked with the latest medical technology, equipment and supplies, allowing students to experience what it is like to work in a real health care environment. The dental suite is one of the areas expected to provide community outreach by offering a screening clinic.

HSI is also partnering with safety net organizations that provide health care services to the uninsured and underinsured population by giving them access to space and medical equipment. A partnership with the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City has helped bring Collaboration Works to HSI - a medical equipment and supplies store that sells to the uninsured and underinsured at reduced prices. Students from MCC will provide service learning through Collaboration Works, which will reinforce student learning and broaden their community awareness. These kinds of partnerships are a win-win for everyone involved.

The HSI is a unique and one-of-a-kind learning resource that is a valuable addition to Kansas City, and addresses the growing needs for educational opportunities and health care in urban areas. It’s our hope that students, educators, service providers, patients – the entire community – will benefit.



Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Enter IMPORTANT to deliver your message more quickly.

HCF's Local Health Buzz Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact HCF Communications Officers, Jennifer Sykes, at



Other Health Blogs

The HPV vaccines (Gardasil and Cervarix) have been recommended for girls in the US for nearly 10...
ast night, President Barack Obama delivered his State of The Union address on Capitol Hill. In...