Rural health initiatives, workforce development issues and ongoing support for flood recovery efforts were the focus of a visit Wednesday to Norfolk and Columbus by Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor of both the University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Gold was joined by leaders from both institutions to meet with leadership from Northeast Community College in Norfolk and Columbus Community Hospital, as well as local elected officials.
The trip was part of UNO/UNMC's summer community tours, during which university leaders visit and listen to the needs facing areas across the state.
“We’ve learned about, already today, opportunities to have experiential learning, opportunities for our students who can then give back to the communities and businesses in this area or opportunities to contribute to early childhood education, which will be pivotal for the building of successful families and communities throughout rural Nebraska,” Gold said.
The purpose of the trip was to be able to listen to leaders of rural areas, he said.
“What I would say the single most important thing we get to do today during this trip and many others is just to listen, to have an opportunity to meet with both elected officials, leadership of the health care systems, members of the leadership team at the community hospitals, teachers, students, and many, many others to ask the question of, ‘What could we or should we be doing differently; what should the university be focused on; what are the most important areas in terms of the needs of these communities?’ ” Gold said.