$3.6M historic renovation paves way for new EMU program

At Eastern Michigan University, an exciting blend of history and innovation are about to make waves on campus. A brand new Physician Assistant (PA) Program is now in development, and it will make its home in the historic Rackham Hall, which will receive a $3.6 million renovation.
"Rackham Hall is the perfect setting for this program," says Jay Peterson, program director for the new PA program. "It's a historic building with high visibility in the center of campus. We have space to provide students with a great learning environment."
Built in 1939 with art deco design elements, Rackham Hall has its roots in healthcare, having housed the EMU Children’s Institute and several other programs. A photo still inside the building documents Eleanor Roosevelt's visit to the facility, which was the first of its kind when first built. To honor Rackham Hall's historic significance, EMU will be renovating its interior to be both meet the program’s modern needs and remain historically accurate.
"The building is so cool," Peterson says. "[Horace] Rackham is the guy who drew up the papers to incorporate Ford. This was a really significant building,"
Work on Rackham Hall is scheduled to begin in the fall and be completed by early next year in time for the new PR Program to begin in May 2014. The program will welcome 20 students in its first year with plans to grow to 30 in 2013 and level out at 40 the following year. The program will operate as a partnership with St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, which will create a joint simulation center, a human anatomy cadaver laboratory and clinical rotations experiences for its students.
According to Peterson, keeping the PA students locally will hopefully result in keeping more graduates local to fill the growing need for PAs in the area, particularly in primary care. 

Source: Jay Peterson, Eastern Michigan University
Writer: Natalie Burg
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