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New Manchester health sciences initiatives begin, to pursue nursing program

Manchester University President Dave McFadden today announced that the northeast Indiana school is developing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. 

“As one of the cornerstones of the health professions, nursing represents a major step forward in MU’s new health science initiatives,” he said.

Dr. Lea JohnsonManchester  has hired Lea A. Johnson as vice president for health science initiatives, to plan, develop and launch this and other programs to meet market needs and help Manchester advance its mission to “graduate persons of ability and conviction who draw upon their education and faith to lead principled, productive and compassionate lives that improve the human condition.”

With more than 20 years of higher education experience, Johnson is known for her transformative leadership and for building partnerships. The former president of two health care colleges on the East Coast, she holds a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania and master’s degrees in nursing and public relations. 

“Our next step will be to hire a nursing director and then pursue accreditation from the Indiana Board of Nursing and Higher Learning Commission,” Johnson said. “We know the need is great, so we will get started on that without delay.”

Nursing is a natural extension of Manchester’s historic strengths in health sciences, from preparation for medical, dental and optometry doctoral programs, and MU’s own Doctor of Pharmacy Program.

The interaction with nursing will create synergies with existing Manchester programs, such as the master’s degrees in pharmacogenomics (precision medicine) and athletic training, and new baccalaureate programs in global health and health communications. 

Manchester expects its nursing program to be distinctive in several ways:

  • It will focus on both rural and urban health.
  • It will incorporate a strong interdisciplinary learning model.
  • Nursing education at MU will be infused with liberal arts competencies such as communication, conflict resolution, critical thinking, cultural sensitivity, service, collaboration and leadership.

Demand for nurses is very high and many regions are experiencing shortages.

The Manchester University Board of Trustees voted unanimously at its winter meeting to approve the nursing plan.

For the media
More background and contact information for Dr. Johnson.

About Manchester

Manchester University is a leading health science educator in northeast Indiana. It offers more than 60 areas of undergraduate study with a rich liberal arts curriculum, two master's programs (athletic training and pharmacogenomics), a professional doctorate in pharmacy, a dual degree in pharmacy and pharmacogenomics, and customized corporate education programs. With campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., Manchester serves nearly 1,600 students. Learn more at www.manchester.edu.

Our mission: Manchester University respects the infinite worth of every individual and graduates persons of ability and conviction who draw upon their education and faith to lead principled, productive, and compassionate lives that improve the human condition. 

General background about Manchester’s strong tradition in the health sciences:

  • MU applicants to Doctor of Pharmacy programs have been accepted at a rate of 99 percent over the past 10 years.
  • Over the past 10 years, 90 percent of MU applicants to medical school have been accepted, compared to a national average of 40-45 percent.
  • MU applicants to Physician Assistant programs have been accepted at a rate of 100 percent over the past 10 years.
  • Manchester students applying to professional schools to pursue all health-care careers, such as veterinary, dental and optometry school, have been accepted at a rate of 97 percent over the past five years.
  • The January session Medical Practicum is an excursion to Nicaragua or Guatemala where quality health care is in short supply. For 35 years, MU students have gained real-world experience working alongside health care professionals, serving hundreds of patients with medical, dental and veterinary needs.

Recent history of MU health-related moves before this new initiative:

February 2019