QU admitted students tour Hartford HealthCare after new partnership

Nicole McIsaac and Jack Spiegel

With an incoming first-year class on its way, Quinnipiac University invited admitted students to Hartford Hospital on April 5, to showcase the educational opportunities after the university’s recent partnership with Hartford HealthCare. 

HHC announced its $5 million investment and partnership with Quinnipiac, beginning in January to enhance on-campus health services and health care academic programs. It also aims to expand professional opportunities for both students and HHC employees. 

Admitted students were welcomed by the university to Hartford Hospital’s Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation to explore various simulation labs and equipment that are now being offered for clinical use. CESI is an international training destination, the second-largest surgical center in New England and the largest robotic surgery center in the Northeast.

Quinnipiac faculty and current students and HHC professionals guided prospective students and their families around the facility to highlight the experience offered by the partnership. 

“It’s a year-and-half-long process of starting conversations with different providers and building this dream for Quinnipiac to really have the opportunity to be differentiated from any other school,” said Tom Ellett, chief experience officer. 

Within the center, students have access to lab and simulation services, meeting rooms, classrooms, an amphitheater to view live cases and virtual reality and robotic trainers. Ellett said HHC will allow students to borrow equipment to utilize and practice within the medical school on the North Haven campus. 

“To be able to play with things at a no-stress level and do simulation activities prepares students in a much more real way,” Ellett said. “They can make mistakes with someone watching them.”

CESI Director of Operations Stephen Donahue said his role is to develop a relationship with Quinnipiac faculty and locate opportunities for students to use the training center in ways to expand on what is already being taught. He said greeting prospective students and “really hearing the energy of the people who are participating in the event,” highlights the opportunities that the partnership brings to students. 

“This technology can really allow the students to find themselves, get some confidence, touch time on the equipment (that) they might not have on campus,” Donahue said. “But also opportunities to talk to people in the workforce that are actually doing it.” 

Jay Tunra, a prospective student from Simsbury, Connecticut, said he is interested in studying medicine and cardiology. Despite considering other schools in his college search, he said Quinnipiac is the only one of the bunch to offer direct hospital learning experiences. 

“I think this shows the opportunities at Quinnipiac that people can have,” Tunra said. “It shows how available things are.”

His father, Amid Tunra, said that he was thrilled that the university offered incoming students the opportunity to engage directly with the program and its facilitators before even committing to the school. 

“This particular opportunity at this event gives him real exposure of whatever he’s planning to go into in his career, this is what he is going to see in the future,” Amid Tunra said. “This kind of exposure is really critical and will boost the confidence of the students.” 

Junior nursing major Alexandra Arteaga was one of the students who led a group of admitted students around the facility. Arteaga said that seeing a facility like the CESI would have sped up her decision to commit to Quinnipiac.

“I don’t know (of) another school that has access to this kind of stuff,” Arteaga said.

Rebecca Gleason, CESI simulation educator and coordinator, said her experience watching new students explore the different labs and use the hands-on equipment was inspiring for the future incoming class to come. 

“It’s so exciting to see the smiles on their faces and them being so interactive, watching them be able to see their future,” Gleason said. “I would love them to take away some kind of piece of what they want to do in their future.” 

Rebecca Gleason, CESI simulation educator and coordinator, said she was excited watching prospective students interact with the equipment. (Nicole McIsaac)

Despite the partnership being focused on health care, Ellett said the university is looking to expand the reach of students with different majors and fields involved with HHC. 

“There’s just so many things we are uncovering that’s possible,” Ellett said. “I just think it’s just going to bring such notoriety for this institution in a way I think will make students think this is a place to come because the opportunities are so enlivened for our students.”