The Consortium was founded in 1993 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and a collaboration of the five founding partner institutions. While it was created in response to projected health care workforce shortages, it also facilitates improvements in regional health and healthcare and supports applied research in health and medically related disciplines.
The first project of the Consortium was to establish the Health Science Center, a facility for education and research that would house programs of the partnering institutions. The building was opened in the summer of 2000 and today is home to programs, classes, and research efforts of Gundersen Health System, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Western Technical College.
In 2005, the Consortium began engaging not only within their partnership but in the community, recognizing the value of the education/healthcare collaboration to the community at large. Several teams were established to explore project work in the areas of improving population health, addressing healthcare workforce shortages, increasing graduates in healthcare programs, and finding collaborations among researchers. Today, we are involved in a number of community-based projects that reach beyond the core partnership into our surrounding region.
In 2009, the La Crosse County Health Department and the School District of La Crosse joined the Consortium as partners.
Wisconsin: Buffalo, Clark, Crawford, Grant, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, Sauk, Trempealeau, Vernon
Mission: "Fostering collaboration for healthier communities"
What are we doing to accomplish our mission of "fostering collaboration for healthier communities"?
The Consortium acts in many roles, depending on the needs of the community. We can serve as a leader of a collaborative effort, a convener of partners, a participant in coalitions and teams, or an assistant to organizations seeking shared funding or planning.
We work both internally, to help our partners and their collaborators find common solutions to issues that affect everyone, and externally, assisting community partners and collaboratives with managing complex projects and encouraging dialogue within the community through events and presentations.
Nurse Networking is a group of nurses throughout the community who are actively engaged in a variety of nursing services (including retired volunteer work). Their purpose is to create opportunities for our profession to come together in a softer way-not for the primary goal of continuing education, but for the primary goal of helping us remember why we chose nursing as a profession and why we still feel this is a worthy job. By creating the opportunity to meet others who are very different than us and yet united in several key ways, we can find support and personal growth for ourselves and for our mission. Summit is usually held in early spring.