USF Health starts construction on transformative CAMLS training center

Tampa, FL (Jan. 11, 2011) — USF Health begins construction today on its Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation, a $30 million project that will help change how healthcare professionals learn, making cutting-edge medical technologies safer for patients.

The center, known as CAMLS, also will be a vibrant addition to downtown Tampa, bringing as many as 60,000 learners to the Tampa Bay economy.

CAMLS also will give USF a central location downtown to provide classes for undergraduate and graduate students for a broad range of academic study.

Artist rendering of USF Health CAMLS building in downtown Tampa

“CAMLS marks an important new chapter not just for USF Health, but also for how health education and evaluation is practiced across America,” said Dr. Stephen Klasko, dean of the USF College of Medicine and CEO of USF Health. “Our mission is to create a healthcare system in which patients can feel confident that their surgeons and other healthcare professionals have the best possible training and testing before they perform complicated, difficult procedures on patients.”

The 90,000 square-foot building will be the new home for high-tech robots and a state-of-the-art simulation center. Leading USF faculty surgeons will train surgeons from around the country on how to perform robotic, computer-assisted, and image-guided surgeries. In the simulation center’s Virtual Hospital, doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers will train side-by-side, perfecting the teamwork and communication skills vital to top-quality medicine.

The building also will feature a 2,000 square-foot auditorium, a 6,000 square-foot laboratory for interdisciplinary research, and one floor for general purpose classroom space.

USF President Judy Genshaft said CAMLS is a wonderful way for USF to create a dynamic presence in downtown Tampa.

“CAMLS is proof that USF is the key economic engine for Tampa Bay,” she said. “With this one exciting project, we not only take a leap forward for medical education, but also will bring thousands of new visitors to Tampa Bay and provide a new and central location for Tampa Bay residents to learn from USF.”

USF Health is able to move forward on the long-planned CAMLS project thanks to the cooperation of the Tampa City Council to sell a city-owned parking lot to USF as the site for the center.

“We are incredibly grateful to Mayor Pam Iorio and to Tampa city officials for their enthusiasm and vision of what CAMLS could mean to Tampa,” said President Genshaft. “As a city, we’re truly fortunate to have that kind of far-sighted leadership.”

Aerial view of the CAMLS property

Mayor Iorio said CAMLS will be a landmark for the city of Tampa and another side of USF’s role as an economic engine for the region.

“The City of Tampa is fortunate to be home to the University of South Florida,” Mayor Iorio said. “As a leading research institution known for its academic excellence, the university positively impacts our community and our numerous partnerships have greatly benefitted our residents.  The ground breaking for the CAMLS project is another step toward increasing the university’s positive impact on our city.”

USF Health leaders now are working to assemble key parts of the CAMLS team. On Tuesday, Dr. Klasko announced that CAE Healthcare, the Canada-based company that is a world leader in simulation training, will manage the CAMLS Simulation Center.  Key faculty members also are taking leadership positions, said Deborah Sutherland, PhD, associate vice president of USF Health and project director of CAMLS.

“CAMLS is a game-changer for the University of South Florida and the city of Tampa and will attract industry leaders and medical experts from around the world,” Dr. Sutherland said. “It is their expertise that will make CAMLS a national center for transforming medical education and create a hub for biomedical research in the downtown area.”

Ultimately, the impact of CAMLS will reach far beyond Tampa Bay, by helping patients who benefit from better-trained healthcare professionals, Dr. Klasko said.

“Even as we’re celebrating construction of this beautiful building, it’s important to remember than CAMLS is much more than the physical bricks and mortar,” Dr. Klasko said. “This is about creating an environment at the core of the mission of USF Health: sparking a revolution in how we educate healthcare professionals, lead through innovative research, and provide for the best possible patient care.”

For more information on the project, visit

Photos by Aimee Blodgett, USF Communications and Marketing. Video by Beck Group.

USF Health
USF Health ( is dedicated to creating a model of health care based on understanding the full spectrum of health. It includes the University of South Florida’s colleges of medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health; as well as the schools of biomedical sciences and physical therapy & rehabilitation sciences; and the USF Physicians Group. With more than $394.1 million in research grants and contracts in FY2009/2010, the University of South Florida is one of the nation’s top 63 public research universities and one of only 25 public research universities nationwide with very high research activity that is designated as community-engaged by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.