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The Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences on May 19, 2017 (Photo by Wesbenshade | CC BY-SA 4.0).

Saint Joseph’s University plans to merge with the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences in Lancaster. 

St. Joe’s announced its “definitive agreement” with PA College on Jan. 18, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The merger, which will take effect in January 2024, will allow St. Joe’s to add over 20 nursing and allied health programs to its curriculum.

The PA College was founded by Lancaster General Hospital, which Penn Medicine acquired in April 2015. 

Through the merger, St. Joe’s aims to add nursing programs to the Hawk Hill and University City locations, develop new interdisciplinary programs, and expand the geographical reach of St. Joe's beyond Philadelphia, according to the press release.  

“We know that programs like those offered at PA College are not only sought after by students, but they also have an exponential value in the communities where those students then go on to live, work and lead,” St. Joe's Interim President Cheryl McConnell said in a statement

This is the second merger St. Joe’s has undertaken with the goal of expanding its life sciences curriculum. It previously merged with the University of the Sciences in June 2022. 

Currently, PA College investments are part of Penn’s investment fund, and PA College employees can be part of a Penn Medicine Lancaster General retirement plan, according to the Inquirer.

“Our choice, the University of Pennsylvania Health System, is an elite organization with the resources and expertise to truly transform healthcare,” Thomas Beeman, then-President and CEO of Lancaster General Health, said in a press release after Penn Med's acquisition of Lancaster General Hospital.

St. Joe's has been considering the merger since 2020. Five boards voted in order for the merger to go ahead, including the Penn, Penn Med, and Lancaster General boards, the Inquirer reported

Liz Kennedy Walsh, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for St. Joe’s, told the Inquirer that the university is not currently considering any further mergers.