Ishler Wellness Lab to expand interprofessional clinical education at CHHS

Western Michigan University’s College of Health and Human Services recently received a major gift to establish the George Ishler Wellness Lab, which will be housed in a newly purchased property on Cork Street in Kalamazoo. The space will be renovated in the coming year and will be shared with WMU’s Adult Wellness Programs including Senior Day Services, which is currently located in rented space in a local church. Gretchen Ishler made the gift in the name of her late husband, Dr. George Ishler.

During the fall 2018 semester, Sandra Glista, master faculty specialist in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, will begin to assemble faculty partners from the College of Health and Human Services for interprofessional collaboration related to the wellness lab.

“Our goal is to develop the lab’s programs to further the college’s clinical education foundations,” says Glista. “As with all of our clinical endeavors, we will build and strengthen practical, interprofessional skills in our students while providing health and wellness activities and services for older adults in our community.”

The wellness lab will focus on interprofessional practice for collaborative education with students from speech, language, and hearing sciences; music therapy;  occupational therapy; physical therapy and nursing. In addition to clinical opportunities for graduate students, the wellness lab will also eventually offer an internship for undergraduate students in the Integrative Holistic Health and Wellness program, which emphasizes the use of healing arts with older adults.

In the community, the goal of the Ishler Wellness Lab is to help older adults remain actively engaged in daily activities and promote their independence with opportunities for professional treatment, social engagement and education. New services will be added to fully utilize the new spaceaccording to Carol Sundberg, Ph.D., director of WMU’s Center for Disability Services, Aging Services and the Unified Clinics. "The new service additions will promote health and wellness for people with conditions that affect mobility, strength, ambulation, speech/language, cognition, hearing, vision and sensory function,” says Sundberg.

The new facility is expected to open in the fall of 2019.