Academy 2

Calista Logan, 15, center right, a sophomore at Manheim Central, and other students assist in a simulation of an appendectomy at Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences' Health Care Careers Academy Wednesday, June 28, 2017.

Lancaster's Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences will merge with Philadelphia's St. Joseph's University by January 2024, according to leaders at both schools.

The merger announced Wednesday is expected to strengthen offerings at both institutions, and there is no plan to close any current facilities.

"Our country is facing a critical shortage of nurses and nursing faculty, and students are increasingly interested in joining the profession," Cheryl McConnell, interim President of St. Joseph's, wrote in a news release announcing the change. "By offering a full range of nursing and allied health programs, we can further our mission of educating students in the Jesuit tradition for the advancement of communities and society at large."

After the merger, St. Joseph's will begin offering nursing programs at its two Philadelphia locations and Penn Medicine will offer clinical placements for Philadelphia-based students.

St. Joseph's will continue investing in academic programs at the current Lancaster campus of Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences at 850 Greenfield Road, and partnering with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, McConnell said in the announcement 

“By becoming part of Saint Joseph’s, we have an extraordinary opportunity to continue PA College’s valued role in the education and professional development of the regional healthcare workforce while expanding the geographic and demographic reach of its critically needed nursing and allied health programs,” said President of Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences Mary Grace Simcox in a news release. 

An estimated 2,000 students will become part of Saint Joseph's University with the merger. 

Along with the merger the colleges are expecting to have to go through an accreditation approval process. 

"As we enter into this year of integration planning, I have enormous confidence in this community as we bring insights from our previous experience and the knowledge that together, we can do this," McConnell said. "We will continue getting to know PA College in the coming weeks and months."

In a memo to Lancaster General Health employees Wednesday, CEO John Herman wrote, "PA College and Saint Joseph’s possess a similar strategic alignment, complementary academic programming, talented leadership, and strong board commitment. Both institutions see the agreement as a way to expand their missions ...

"Saint Joseph’s will honor commitments made to PA College students, including financial aid and program continuity through the anticipated completion of the course of study. Informational sessions will soon be held at PA College for its current students. Tuition benefits for LG Health employees attending PA College will not change as a result of this merger. After January 2024, tuition and fee structures at Saint Joseph’s location in Lancaster will remain the same as have existed at PA College prior to that time.

"Saint Joseph’s presence in Lancaster will maintain a vital, strategic role in developing future healthcare professionals through strong, mutually beneficial affiliation agreements with LG Health."

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