Giving - Office of Development and Alumni Relations

USF Health Downtown: What’s happening now?
Charles Lockwood MD, MHCMAn interview with Charles J. Lockwood, MD, MHCM
Senior Vice President for USF Health; Dean, Morsani College of Medicine
Q: It has been almost a year since the downtown site was dedicated for the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute. What’s happening now?

A: We’re in the process of seeking the final tranche of funding from the state, and we’re continuing to raise private gifts to meet our portion of the cost of the building…hopefully that process will be resolved over the next year or so.

The really exciting part is designing the building. First, we gathered up as much internal expertise as we could to examine the future of medical education, which is changing a lot. We’re creating an environment not only for medical education today, but for 30 years from now. That is — as you can imagine — a daunting challenge.

Q: What does that mean for our medical students?

A: Medical knowledge is doubling every 2-1/2 months, how do you create an environment for teaching students where new information is coming at them at breakneck speed? You can’t memorize the full content of medical knowledge in such a dynamic, changing environment. So our goal is to create a place where students are able to access information just-in-time, allowing them to supplement a solid fund of knowledge.

That dynamic environment will involve fewer lectures — maybe no lectures — and more active small-group learning, simulation, standardized patients, and flipped classrooms. It will be incredibly adaptable, enabling pop-up meetings with students and faculty.

This environment will be increasingly high tech, with holograms and all kinds of things we can’t even begin to contemplate. One area we’re concentrating heavily on is teaching anatomy in this new era. It will involve less traditional teaching and dissection, and more imaging and understanding the anatomy that students will be exposed to — MRIs, CT scans, ultrasounds, or for the eventual surgeons, surgical anatomy. So we’re creating a much more practical exposure to anatomy that integrates well with the way we’re now teaching our students, which is organ-based.

Q: What unique building features are being considered for research?

A: We’re creating a lab environment that, again, is being designed not for today, but for the next 30 years, and again, flexibility will be the key. It will have settings where researchers can come together, brainstorm, go back to their workstations, meet formally and informally, and unleash the power of team science.

The third component of the building is faculty offices, again looking 30 years into the future with a much more flexible design. It doesn’t look anything like the offices of today. In a sense, the doc’s office of tomorrow is their cell phone, wherever they are, because they’re going to be in multiple different environments. We’re building a more regional health system. In the ambulatory setting, in the hospital, in the operating room, in radiology, seeing patients, and even home care. Wherever they are, they need to have access to their colleagues, the department, students, research and so forth.

Q: How have you anticipated these changes in medicine for the building design?

A: This is a hyperdynamic environment in education, research and clinical care, and designing a building to facilitate that is an enormous challenge. We’ve received a lot of help from our architectural firm HOK, as well as other deans with new medical school buildings who have shared their thinking. Hopefully we’ll have learned from their mistakes and benefited from their successes. We’re very grateful for the deans of other schools who have invited us to visit.

Q: What has been the most exciting part of this project so far?

A: So where we stand is that we’ve cataloged all of the components that need to be in the building, and we’re working with the architects to design the most attractive, practical and exciting environment we can. Lots of light, lots of views of the water, and what will be a dynamic, exciting urban environment along Channelside and Meridian.

All of this is occurring at the same time that Jeff Vinik’s Strategic Property Partners team is designing a whole city district. It’s really fascinating to see that evolution. He’s brought in some of the best urban designers in the world, some of the best architects, to design a district that is beautiful, functional and exciting, but also has a theme of wellness permeating all aspects of it.

You can’t ask for better for a medical school, right? A wellness district where everybody’s focused on creating as healthy an environment as you can possibly be in…mentally, physically, spiritually, you name it.