Inver Hills Receives $250,000 to Develop Health Sciences Center

Congressionally Directed Funding will purchase simulation equipment for Interprofessional Education (IPE)

Inver Hills Community College received $250,000 in FY2024 Congressionally Directed Funding to purchase simulation equipment to develop a Health Sciences Center for Interprofessional Education (IPE) and Simulation on campus. The project seeks to enhance collaboration and the quality of care among students from various health science programs by providing them with opportunities to learn and practice together.

JT Bealka, MS, dean of business, healthcare, and public service at Inver Hills, reported that the purpose of the project is to facilitate interprofessional education through simulation, allowing students to gain hands-on experience in a controlled environment that mirrors real-life healthcare scenarios.

“Justification for funding is based on the need to expand interprofessional education opportunities at Inver Hills, as current programs offer minimal exposure to such practices,” Dean Bealka said. “The acquisition of simulation equipment, specifically the AVKIN Elite Simulation Package and a patient care ventilator, will enable students to engage in collaborative learning experiences that closely resemble clinical practice. This approach not only enhances student recruitment, retention, and employment readiness, but also fosters a more holistic understanding of patient care.”

Dean Bealka added that local benefits of the project include addressing healthcare workforce needs in the Minneapolis-St. Paul South Metro area through collaboration with community employers.

“Inver Hills plans to work closely with local high schools to offer interprofessional education courses, providing students with valuable exposure to healthcare simulations,” Dean Bealka said. “The simulation equipment will benefit high school students visiting the campus, allowing them to participate in simulations alongside college students and other healthcare professionals.”

Vice President of Academic Affairs perspective: Elaina Bleifield, PhD

“This opportunity allows Inver Hills to further develop our interprofessional experiences for our students. This means that students who are in the EMS Paramedic program and Nursing program will have an opportunity to work together and learn from each other to understand each other’s perspectives as they work with patients.

“Part of the project will allow us to develop these opportunities for our students. In addition, the funding also allows us to purchase wearable simulators so that students will have a wider opportunity to learn about a number of diseases and situations with patients that you can’t always get in real life.

“Students need the opportunity to practice their clinical skills—just like in other experiences in life, we know we need to practice to improve, so these simulations will help our students gain confidence as they practice so they can be more effective once they enter their careers.”

Elaina Bleifield, PhD
Vice President of Academic Affairs
Inver Hills Community College

Nursing director perspective: Sara Wiggins, DNP, RN

“This is an amazing opportunity to bring our healthcare programs together to improve collaboration, education, and training. Ultimately, this will enhance the skills of our healthcare professionals and support our surrounding communities!”

Sara Wiggins, DNP, RN
Director of Nursing
Inver Hills Community College

More about the simulation equipment…

The AVKIN Elite Simulation Package—valued at $190,576—includes wearable simulators such as tracheostomy, wound care, IV, chest tube, central line, birthing, auscultation, and urinary catheterization simulators. Additionally, funds will be allocated towards the purchase of a patient care ventilator—estimated at $40,000—to support nursing, emergency medical services, and other health science programs.

The package also includes a 12-month mentorship, intensive in-person education, online and virtual support, and protection plans to ensure effective implementation into the curriculum.

“Overall, the project aims to advance interprofessional education and simulation in healthcare training, ultimately benefiting students, healthcare professionals, and the local community by improving collaboration, patient care, and workforce readiness,” Dean Bealka said.

Healthcare-related programs at Inver Hills

EMS Paramedic

Join a health care team that saves lives on the front lines. Train at Inver Hills to become a paramedic or emergency medical technician (EMT). Paramedics provide care in a variety of emergency medical and traumatic situations. With enough education or experience, EMTs and paramedics can become emergency service supervisors, managers, directors, or executive directors.


Health Sciences Broad Field

The A.S. in Health Sciences Broad Field delivers a comprehensive base of coursework that will prepare you to pursue a more advanced degree on a wide range of career paths in healthcare-related fields.



Nursing is an exceptionally rewarding career where you can make a real difference in people’s lives. Our graduates exceed the national NCLEX-RN pass rate and go on to enjoy great job security as registered nurses (RNs) in this high-demand field. Nursing is a competitive application process that requires a separate nursing application in addition to applying for admission to Inver Hills.

Learn more about the Health Sciences Center for Interprofessional Education (IPE) and Simulation at Inver Hills by contacting:

JT Bealka
Dean of Business, Healthcare, and Public Service
Inver Hills Community College

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