University of South Florida

CAMLS partners with University of the Virgin Islands to open first medical simulation facility

U.S. Virgin Islands and University of the Virgin Islands leaders cut the ribbon on the new Medical Simulation Center, a 21,000 square-foot facility that mirrors the USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS). Haru Okuda, MD, FACEP, FSSH, CAMLS director, is fourth from the right.

In 2015, members of the USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) met with University of the Virgin Islands president Dr. David Hall and several other dignitaries of the U.S. Virgin Islands.  The visit ended with a handshake and collaboration between the two organizations as UVI began construction on their new Medical Simulation Center.

Seven years later, in June 2022, UVI and CAMLS executives cut the ribbon on the new simulation center, signifying the beginning of a new era of medical training in the Virgin Islands.

The St. Croix-based simulation center mirrors that of CAMLS in Tampa featuring more than 21,000 square feet of trauma and hybrid operating rooms, 18 surgical skill lab areas, four team training rooms, patient exam rooms, dining room and auditorium.  The new facility is anticipated to provide 500 new jobs and attract conferences, training programs and researchers.

Attendees of this historic milestone include:

  • Yashiharu “Haru” Okuda, MD, FACEP, FSSH, CAMLS executive director
  • Novelle Francis, Virgin Islands senator
  • Albert Bryan, Virgin Islands governor
  • David Hall, UVI president

Dr. Okuda, in his address to the crowd, stated the new facility is one of more than 150 around the country.  The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Mayo Clinic are among many others that offer similar education facilities.  Luis Llerena, MD, FACS, CHSE-A, medical director of USF Health CAMLS, will lead the CAMLS team responsible for implementing the Fundamentals of Critical Care course in July, in which they will train the trainer and train the provider.

“The simulator is not about technology.  It is a technical tool for training and education.  It is an incredibly powerful tool and resource for all of the territory,” Dr. Okuda said.  “We are committed to helping them succeed as a part of our mission to create and provide experiential learning that improves clinical skills and patient care on our community and around the globe.”

The facility is only the first step toward a grander vision of building a Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accredited medical school in St. Thomas.

From. Dr. David Hall, UVI president:

“We believe that this center, because of the technology that it has, because of the sophisticated mannequins that you will see, will turn on imagination and innovation lights in the minds of middle school and high school students so that they can start pursuing careers that they did not even know existed.”

More photos from the event. All photos courtesy of CAMLS staff:

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