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LSC-North Harris Expansion Offers CEO new opportunities with a familiar partner

Houston Northwest Medical Center CEO and former LSC-North Harris student, Drew Kahn, sees great benefits to college’s new extension campus.
When Lone Star College-North Harris opens its new Health Professions Building at the corner of Peakwood and Red Oak Drives this fall, it will provide 45,000 additional square feet of classrooms and laboratory space for students enrolling in nursing and allied health courses. 

In addition to the state-of-the-art biotech clinical simulation laboratories, designed to offer students invaluable training opportunities before going into actual clinical environments, the building’s resources will be a valuable asset to the nearby Houston Northwest Medical Center.

It will also be the latest chapter in a relationship between the Medical Center’s Chief Executive Officer Drew Kahn, and LSC-North Harris, which began nearly 25 years ago.

“After graduating from Nimitz High School in 1985, I attended The University of Texas at Austin, where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree,” said Kahn, who has been CEO at Houston Northwest since 2005.  “In the summers, I took classes at LSC-North Harris, which allowed me to continue my studies, and because tuition was affordable and the classes were much smaller, LSC-North Harris also served as a great balance to my undergraduate studies at UT.”

As a former LSC-North Harris student and a current fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, Kahn said he relishes the opportunity to work in partnership with his former school and its new medical campus for the benefit of the residents of north Houston.

“All this work – the planning, purchase of property and building of partnerships – began out of grave concern about the nursing shortage,” the CEO explained.  “Now, we also have a large aging population, and with the reforms in healthcare, we expect this partnership will help us respond to growing needs of our community.
As we move closer to the end of the construction and the opening of the new campus, we at Houston Northwest Medical Center are even more excited about this great partnership and look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship.”

Seeing the new campus as what he calls “a natural fit,” Kahn said many of the medical center’s registered nursing staff, as well as nurse managers and nursing directors are alumni of the nursing program at LSC-North Harris. “We’ve always had students rotating through the hospital for their clinical practice,” he added.  “Now, we’re just a short walk across the street from their classrooms.”

In addition to the traditional classes in nursing, medical assisting and radiology, plans are underway to offer continuing education courses for registered nurses at the new facility. The fact that everyone involved sees a strong benefit for their organizations and the people of North Houston is exactly the outcome envisioned by Dr. Steve Head, LSC-North Harris president.

“Projects such as the Red Oak extension campus are really at the heart of our mission as a community college,” said Head. “We’re making higher education more convenient for our students, working with our health care providers to fill a critical need in the workforce, and doing so in a way that maximizes our resources and has a positive impact for the community.”

“I don’t think we can underestimate the impact the Lone Star College System has had on our community. From the large economic impact of having a college that has reached out to all industries in our area, to the assistance LSC-North Harris offers to companies relocating and expanding in our community and, in the case of the new campus extension, taking unoccupied buildings, renovating them and creating new classrooms.  All of this creates opportunities for more business in the community. And that’s exactly what we need at the moment,” added Kahn.
The new campus will be housed in one of two former office buildings which LSC-North Harris purchased in 2009 and will serve as a training facility only.  All enrollment and administrative functions will continue at the original campus, located at 2700 W.W. Thorne Drive.

Steve Kolar, dean of health and human services division at LSC-North Harris, said future plans for the facility include the possibility of a regional training center featuring an even wider array of classes and technologies within the allied health professions.

“As the nursing shortage and the need for trained health care professionals continue across the United States, community colleges continue to be the primary providers of nurses, health care professionals and Emergency Medical Technicians,” he said.

As the partnerships between LSC-North Harris and the health care community continue, Kahn sees a myriad of opportunities to elevate health care professionals of every discipline. 

“We’re looking at more innovative programs, including exciting plans for the new simulation labs, which will accelerate student learning and prepare them for risky situations. And, as we move forward, we think there’s not only a chance to educate, but also an opportunity to make health care safer,” he said.

Houston Northwest Medical Center, a 440-bed healthcare facility, opened in 1973 and is the home of the Ed Roberson Heart Center, which provides comprehensive cardiac services, the Women’s Atrium, a bariatric center along with a wide range of inpatient, outpatient and diagnostic services.

Supported by a medical staff of approximately 600, Houston Northwest also has three intensive care units, including one specialized surgical ICU.  It is one of six Level III trauma centers in the Houston area and in 2009, saw more than 70,000 patients, making it one of the busiest hospitals in the region.
With more than 62,000 students in credit classes in spring 2010, Lone Star College System is the second largest and the fastest-growing community college system in Texas and the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area. LSCS consists of five colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, and LSC-Tomball, six centers, LSC-University Park, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.
May 7, 2010
Media Contact:
John Luedemann
281.765.7934, desk
713.875.8719, cell