CAMLS to become a job engine, leaders say

USF Health’s new Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation is a showcase for creating the valuable high-wage jobs that Tampa Bay needs, said U.S. Rep Kathy Castor at a press conference Monday.

“One of the ways we’re going to create jobs in Tampa during the coming years is by becoming one of the premier health innovation capitals in the United States,” Rep. Castor said as she stood on the sidewalk in front of CAMLS, with construction hammers pounding behind her. “This is going to build the jobs for the future in Tampa Bay.”

CAMLS Economic Development Press Conference

USF Health CEO Dr. Stephen Klasko, with U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, speaks with media about the economic development impact of the USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation.

Rep. Castor hosted Monday’s press conference to announce that a $500,000 job creation grant that the Tampa Bay Partnership won in 2010 is now moving into the implementation phase. She held the press conference outside CAMLS, which will be completed next month, because it is an example of Tampa Bay’s future direction.

Castor described Dr. Stephen Klasko, CEO of USF Health and dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, as “a dynamo helping lift this area’s economic development prospects.”

The $30 million CAMLS project will bring health professionals from across the country to receive advanced training and assessment in surgical skills, team training and similar areas. The center will open next month, with its grand opening set for March 30th.

“What you see behind us represents the best example of how we create jobs in this area,” said Stuart Rogel, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership. “This is progress right before our very eyes.”

The Tampa Bay Partnership sees job growth in Tampa Bay focusing on four key industries, Rogel said: applied medicine, business and financial services, high-tech electronics, and marine environmental activities. Rogel sees Tampa Bay as set upon a “race to 500,000 jobs” in those four sectors.

Dr. Stephen Klasko, CEO of USF Health and dean of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, thanked Rep. Castor for her support of CAMLS.

“I would apologize for the hammers, but they are music to our ears to those of us looking for economic development in Tampa Bay,” Dr. Klasko said. “There is no community that has a greater champion for both economic development and health than Tampa Bay in Congresswoman Castor.”

CAMLS Economic Development Press Conference

CAMLS will help bring new business to Tampa Bay, Dr. Klasko said, while also becoming a national model for improving medical training and patient safety.

“This is going to be not only a beautiful building, but really a leader in healthcare transformation,” Dr. Klasko said.

Dr. Klasko pointed to two of the USF Health physicians who accompanied him Monday as examples of that leadership. Dr. John Armstrong, trauma surgeon and medical director of CAMLS, is the former leader of the U.S. Army Trauma Training Center. CAMLS already has won Department of Defense funding to help improve military training.

Also on hand was Dr. Richard Karl, former chair of the USF Department of Surgery and an expert on medical quality and safety. Also a pilot, Dr. Karl is working to help USF Health and CAMLS borrow training and assessment models used in the aviation world and apply them to health.

CAMLS Economic Development Press Conference

“This is the only place in the country that will start to assess, ‘Is this doctor, is this nurse competent,’ “ Dr. Klasko said.

CAMLS will start by adding 100 new jobs downtown, 45 of which will move from USF, said Deborah Sutherland, PhD, the CEO of CAMLS. CAMLS also expects to employ another 100 people on an as-needed basis, depending on what training programs are ongoing, she said.

CAMLS also is likely to act as a catalyst to create more jobs, as more health, aviation and other training partners bring business here, Dr. Klasko said.

- Story by Lisa Greene, USF Health Communications, and photos by Aimee Blodgett, USF Communications