UVI Unveils Medical Simulation Center Designed to Improve VI Healthcare Education & Attract Medical Education Tourism
The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) celebrated the grand opening of its state-of-the-art medical simulation center realizing a major objective in its goal to improve medical education and healthcare in the Territory. At the ribbon cutting ceremony on June 29, at the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix, UVI President David Hall urged supporters to “keep breathing life into the vision of enhanced healthcare in the VI.”
“The Medical School and this Simulation Center were not envisioned just so that we could unveil a first class and impressive facility,” said Dr. Hall. “The vision is focused on improving the quality of healthcare for the Virgin Islands and stimulating and diversifying the economy of the Virgin Islands. The existence of this facility will ensure that our local medical practitioners and medical students will receive the most up-to-date training available so that they can serve the people of this territory.”
Simulation is a tool for training and education that allows students to go through clinical experiences safely without putting patients at risk. The modern, 21,920-square-foot Medical Simulation Center features trauma and hybrid operating rooms with 18 surgical skill lab areas. Using virtual reality, life-like mannequins and other technology, students can learn to treat patients for a variety of issues. Simulation labs, trauma moulage and patient exam rooms are also on site. The facility has an auditorium with an atrium, office, and dining hall with catering kitchen.
“We know that medical simulation as an educational methodology has proven benefits, including increased patient safety, better patient outcomes, improved resource and reliability management,” said Medical Simulation Center Executive Director Charlene Navarro. “Local healthcare professionals will benefit from valuable training and resources that have only been available off-island until now,” she said. “The UVI Medical Simulation Center will also support STEM programs for our youth with exposure to education in healthcare, medicine, science, technology, engineering and robotics.”
Dr. Yasuharu Okuda, executive director of the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) at the University of South Florida, presented Dr. Hall with a CAMLS coin to commemorate this milestone. CAMLS has been a partner of the University’s Medical School program since its inception. “I am honored to be a part of your journey and your dream,” said Dr. Okuda. We are here as part of a family. We are here to stay.”
Dr. Okuda said simulation education is a really powerful tool that now exists in the US Virgin Islands. “Simulation is not about the technology. It’s really a tool for training and education. It allows our students, our current and future work force, to go through clinical experiences in a safe way, to not put patients at risk and improve patient care,” he said.
On Wednesday, UVI Board of Trustees Vice Chair Oran Roebuck spoke of the University’s journey and acknowledged the persons and agencies who contributed to its success. “Thank you to the governor and the legislature for giving us the seed money to start this project,” said Vice Chair Roebuck. “Thank you for the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) for the exceptional grant award.”
The EDA invested $35 million to support efforts to diversify and strengthen the resiliency of the economy by helping to grow the medical sector, primarily by investing in the medical school project which includes resources to establish a medical school classroom building, biomedical research lab and the medical simulation center. “UVI is moving forward, and we will keep it moving forward,” said Roebuck.
“The U.S. EDA makes investments to support locally driven economic development strategies designed to help economically distressed communities to create jobs, promote innovation, accelerate long term sustainable economic growth, resilience and diversification,” said U.S. EDA Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Development and Chief Operating Officer Dennis Alvord, who described the role of the EDA at the opening ceremony. “The investment in the Medical Simulation Center compliments and supports the territory’s investments in other industries,” he said. “The center will attract global healthcare organizations and high-tech bio medical firms to the territory as a place to provide training and conduct research. With these beautiful islands set as a destination location for providing innovative quality training, it is anticipated that conference attendees, corporate executives and others will travel to the territory and boost the economy,” he said.
“We want to attract physicians from around the world that want to be trained in one of the most sophisticated facilities in one of the most beautiful places in the world and help stimulate the economy even more.” Dr. Hall said of the future of the center. “We believe that this center, because of the technology and sophisticated mannequin, will turn on the imagination and innovation light in the minds of middle school and high school students that they can start pursuing careers that they did not even know existed,” he said.
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- About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.
- UVI Medical Simulation Center (https://www.uvi.edu/msc/)
The University first began the project in 2014, with the proposal of adding a School of Medicine to the University’s five schools and colleges and 70-degree programs. Since the inception of the program, the University partnered with the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) at the University of South Florida. The University of the Virgin Islands Medical Simulation Center is offering a Fundamental Critical Care Support Trainer (FCCS) course on July 26-27, on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix. Participants will learn to teach the technical skills needed to provide critical care and support during the first 24 hours after injury. Teach other healthcare professionals in a state-of-the-art high fidelity interactive learning environment. Register today at www.uvi.edu/msc/ For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- About UVI (www.uvi.edu)
The University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) is a student-centered and culturally diverse institution devoted to excellence, innovation, research and making a difference in the U.S. Virgin Islands and globally. Located in the heart of the Caribbean, UVI is a public, coeducational, liberal arts school and HBCU (Historically Black College and University), with campuses on the islands of St. Croix, St. Thomas and an extension campus on St. Martin. UVI offers over 70 academically rigorous and globally relevant degree programs across its five colleges and schools and is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. UVI alumni are leaders in their communities and excel in their fields all around the world. For more information, visit www.uvi.edu, become a fan on Facebook (www.facebook.com/UVI.edu) and follow UVI on Instagram (www.instagram.com/uvi_edu).