Construction is underway to transform space in the Julio S. León Health Sciences building into the Gipson Center for Healthcare Leadership.

“We’re creating two classrooms, a conference room and faculty offices,” says Melinda Brown, who recently joined Missouri Southern as the center’s director. “Classes will start in the fall.”

The program is designed to meet the growing demand for non-clinical management and leadership roles within in the healthcare field. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, job growth in that area will be up 22 percent by 2026.

Brown says that the growth areas include midlevel or entry management positions in different sectors such as physician clinic administrator, health insurance specialist, healthcare marketing, IT and pharmaceuticals.

“Many of the upper-level classes for the Bachelor’s of Science in Healthcare Administration will be taught by local healthcare business professionals,” she says. “They’re people who keep up day to day with what’s going on in the healthcare field – it’s the real world, not just teaching out of a book.”

Brown, who came to MSSU from Freeman Health System as the director of durable medical equipment, says local hospitals see the value and potential of the new program.

“They’re excited because they’ll be getting our students in as interns,” she says.

A ribbon-cutting for the center was held last fall, with university officials recognizing the support of Bill and Tracy Gipson, who made a $1 million gift to the center.

“The generous donation from the Gipsons means we’ll be able to offer competitive scholarships to our students,” says Brown.