Bushway charts future for university as a leader in modern, integrative care
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — On May 31, Deb Bushway was formally installed as the eighth president and CEO of Northwestern Health Sciences University at a ceremony where she described the university as uniquely positioned to shape the role of modern health care.
“In this role, I’ve been able to bring together two of my passions — health care and higher education,” Bushway told an audience of about 300 assembled on the university’s Bloomington campus. “Both of them are in dire need of innovation and change. At our university, we live in the crossroads of these complex fields.”
In November, the university’s Board of Trustees named Bushway president and CEO. She is the first woman leader in the 78-year history of the university. The formal installation ceremony followed completion of the most recent academic term, which wrapped up in April.
Christopher Jo, DC, chair of the Board of Trustees, credited Bushway for bringing a collaborative leadership style to the university involving students, faculty, staff, alumni and other stakeholders.
“Dr. Bushway brings so much to the role of president — so many strengths and attributes that will benefit this university into the future,” he said. “She is an includer — someone who seeks input from others, who wants to make sure that all voices are represented. And she is a listener, who truly hears those voices and seeks to understand others’ perspectives. At the same time, she is decisive. Once the discussion is done, and it’s time for action, Dr. Bushway moves forward, confidently and with purpose.”
He added: “She does not seek the spotlight, but she will gladly step forward to lead and be accountable. She respects the history and tradition of this university. But she is also an innovator who is not afraid to push boundaries or try new things, always with the goal of better serving our mission.”
In her remarks, Bushway emphasized the importance of the university’s role as a leader in integrative health care. NWHSU is already a national leader in training health professionals in fields including chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine and nutrition. Increasingly, these professionals are practicing together, with physicians and alongside other health providers.
It is now common for health consumers to receive care from a team of professionals representing different disciplines who work collaboratively, developing treatment plans that emphasize the needs of the consumer over the thinking of any specific discipline. Health care has moved to an integrative approach, recognizing that input from different disciplines offers a wider range of care, increasing consumer choice and enhanced treatment effectiveness.
“This is a time of tremendous opportunity for Northwestern Health Sciences University,” Bushway said. “Throughout the history of this institution, we have acted with courage at key moments to grow and improve and make an even bigger impact for the professions we serve. I think we’re at a moment like that today.”
She added: “The nation’s health care system needs us and the skills of our professionals. The institutions that will succeed and flourish are the ones that will be willing to grow.”
Bushway came to NWHSU in 2016 as provost, the university’s chief academic officer, after a 30-year career that included work as a psychologist in private practice; a professor and administrator at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul; and as a dean, provost, interim president and vice president of Capella University in Minneapolis. She also has worked with the University of Wisconsin Extension and the U.S. Department of Education. She earned her Master of Science and Doctorate degrees in psychology from Iowa State University.
She is an expert in competency-based education, an approach growing in popularity that allows students to make progress toward degrees based on demonstrated competencies rather a courses-and-credit-hours approach. Last year, Bushway testified before Congress on the subject. She and two co-authors also recently published “A Leader’s Guide to Competency-Based Education,” a book designed to help academic leaders start such programs.
About Northwestern Health Sciences University
In the fast-changing world of health care, Northwestern Health Sciences University in Bloomington, Minnesota, is a leader in training the next generation of health providers. Since 1941, the university has provided world-class professional education and research through accredited programs in chiropractic, acupuncture, therapeutic massage, traditional Chinese medicine, nutrition and other disciplines. Its more than 130 faculty members annually teach more than 6,500 students pursuing degrees and continuing education. Its network of health providers annually cares for thousands of health consumers in the Twin Cities area through the university’s clinic network. More than 7,300 NWHSU graduates work in the United States and 20 other countries. For more information, please visit nwhealth.edu.