Construction starts on transformative USF Health training center


        It took six years for Tuesday to come.

        But construction finally began Tuesday on a building that will change both how healthcare is practiced and the face of downtown Tampa.

         “We will see a building right here that will be a global destination for the revolution in health care,” said USF President Judy Genshaft to a crowd of more than 200 physicians, public officials and business leaders who came to celebrate the groundbreaking event.

          A bold claim, perhaps – but President Genshaft isn’t the only one who sees a remarkable potential for the building that will become the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation, or CAMLS.

         “CAMLS is very good for the University of South Florida and excellent for Tampa,” said Dr. Sterling Williams, vice president for education of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “What you don’t know is that it’s very, very good for the nation. What you’re doing here will set the paradigm for what everyone else is doing.”

          CAMLS also links USF’s campus on the north side of Tampa to downtown.

          “It makes sense for the university to have a whole city block, so they would have a presence downtown,” Mayor Pam Iorio told the crowd. “We can’t be a great city without a great university – and fortunately, we are a great city with a great university.”

       USF is a vital part of Tampa Bay’s economic future, Mayor Iorio said.

       “To the degree that the university brings the best and the brightest to Tampa, and we have this great intellectual center of great minds, then we produce great ideas,” she said. “And that is where economic development starts – with an idea.”

        Dr. Stephen Klasko, dean of the USF College of Medicine and CEO of USF Health, told the crowd that as a private pilot, his flying skills are regularly checked.

        “Sadly and amazingly, that’s not the case today in health care,” he said. “But we’re about to change all that.”

        CAMLS will be a 90,000 square foot, three story building that will offer training for surgeons and other health care professionals the ability to train on advanced surgical procedures, such as laparoscopic surgery, and on team-building and communications skills. It will house surgical robots, simulators and classrooms. Some 60,000 health care professionals are expected to visit Tampa each year to take advantage of training at the facility, which all will educate USF students.

       It will be located at 102 S. Franklin St, on the south side of downtown Tampa. Tuesday’s groundbreaking event was held in a clear tent on the site, complete with a hot breakfast, demonstrations of how surgery is performed on a da Vinci robot, and TV screens so that guests could see a “flyby” video of what the building will look like when it opens this December.

        CAMLS already is serving as a magnet to draw medical dollars and medical talent to Tampa Bay, Dr. Klasko said. He pointed to a few examples:

• Leading medical education and equipment companies, including CAE Healthcare and Symbionix, already have invested some $10 million in the facility before construction even has started.

• CAMLS has enabled USF Health to recruit top new faculty members, such as Dr. John Armstrong, who will be medical director of CAMLS. Dr. Armstrong ran the Army Trauma Training Center in Miami, a first-of-its-kind interprofessional training program. Dr. Armstrong, who holds various national leadership positions with both the American Medical Association and the American College of Surgeons, plans to expand on his Army simulator work with CAMLS.

• CAMLS is helping USF Health keep “home-grown” talent, such as Dr. Laura Haubner. Dr. Haubner, a neonatologist, will be clinical director of simulation at CAMLS. Dr. Haubner is the founder and director of the TEAMS Center, next to Tampa General Hospital. The Team Education and Multi-disciplinary Simulation Center brings residents, nurses, EMTs, respiratory therapists and other caregivers together to practice how to respond in emergency situations, honing their abilities to work and communicate as a team.

• CAMLS will be an incubator for some of USF Health’s most innovative researchers, such as Dr. Stuart Hart. Dr. Hart, who already has filed six provisional patents, is a urogynecologist who combines his medical knowledge with business and engineering to produce new medical devices. His projects include producing miniature laparoscopic instruments that are less than half the size of the smallest instruments used today – so small they’re about the size of a 16-gauge needle. “You’ll hardly know you had surgery,” Dr. Klasko said. Another project would monitor unexpected sounds during surgery, giving surgeons a tool to catch complications that often go undetected.

        At CAMLS, Dr. Klasko said, the tools will be put in place for these faculty members and others to make Tampa Bay a “super-site for quality and safety.”

        “We’re going to train surgeons so they know how to do the hardest procedures. What’s more, we’ll make sure they know, because we’ll test them on it,” Dr. Klasko said. “We’ll ensure that doctors have the opportunity to practice a procedure before they do it on you. We’ll recognize that doctors, nurses and other health care professionals work better as a team, and we’ll make sure they’re trained to do that.

        “It’s a great day for USF Health. It’s a great day for Tampa Bay,” he said. “It’s a great day for everyone who wants to see better patient care in America’s health care system.”

         President Genshaft called CAMLS a win-win for health care and Tampa’s economic future.

        “Thousands of caregivers will come to Tampa each year to learn the future of health,” President Genshaft said. “This will be a place where health care is created, learned, practiced and perfected.”

Story by Lisa Greene, and video by Amy Mariani, USF Health Communications
Photos by Aimee Blodgett, USF Communications

What are USF Health faculty members saying about CAMLS?

            “USF graduate medical education will utilize CAMLS for all levels of residency training, which includes everything from an introduction to even the most basic procedures to a critical Monday-morning quarterback evaluation of the most complex operations. We will be able to do this in a multi-disciplinary arena that’s not possible in most simulation centers. We look forward to CAMLS being a major draw for future residency programs.”

– Dr. Charles Paidas, associate dean for GME, executive associate dean for clinical and extramural affairs

         “CAMLS will set the standard for, in essence, how we educate and train in the behaviors of patient care. …The ultimate way we’re going to enhance patient quality and safety is by learning how to communicate. The glue that keeps people together is how they connect through communication. When we forget about that, we have to deal with the consequences.”

– Dr. John Armstrong, medical director of CAMLS, medical director for trauma and disaster education

         “It’s a huge step for USF. It’s such a unique center in that it combines medical teaching and training with technology, such as computerized medical and surgical simulators, to train the next generation of physicians. …It’s such a high-tech, well-designed center for medical education and simulation, allowing multiple disciplines to work together under one roof to develop state-of-the-art medical and anatomic computerized simulation and medical devices.”

– Dr. Stuart Hart, USF assistant professor and urogynecologist

           “I see CAMLS as a culmination of a lot of great activities that already occur at USF. It will bring a lot of people with dedication to teaching and safe patient care together in one place, to really maximize their productivity and capitalize on all the unshared resources.”

– Dr. Laura Haubner, neonatologist and clinical director of simulation at CAMLS

           “It’s a great opportunity for all of us to come together, and expand some of the work we are doing at Tampa General Hospital. …Deborah Sutherland and everyone is full of ideas and ready to collaborate.”

– Dr. Luis Llerena, assistant professor of surgery and winner of the iPad raffled off at Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony

Get a 360-degree view of the building’s exterior, and take a virtual walk-through tour
in this video produced by architectural firm The Beck Group.