How they will learn

How they will learn

UF breaks ground on new Medical Education Building

By Christine Boatwright

Medical Education Building GroundbreakingInside a circular learning studio, UF medical students will be able to learn one of the most important things they need to know to take care of their future patients — how to work as a team. This circular space is just one of the ways the new George T. Harrell, M.D., Medical Education Building is specifically designed to help train the next generation of physicians and physician assistants at the UF College of Medicine.

In November, the college broke ground on the new building, which is expected to be complete in 2015.

“The building is designed with the students foremost in mind,” said UF President Bernie Machen. “We intend for this inspirational building to become a model for the College of Medicine and for the University of Florida.”

Included among the building’s signature spaces will be the circular learning studios equipped with advanced technologies to accommodate team-based learning efforts.

During the groundbreaking, a group of faculty, alumni and students simulated a small-group learning scenario, in which they discussed the needs of a future medical student at UF. The demonstration highlighted a key component of the medical school’s updated medical education curriculum, which the facility will be designed to support.

The 94,000-square-foot, four-story facility, named after the college’s founding dean, also will enable the college to expand its space for simulation education on the top two floors. The fourth floor will house a state-of-the-art experiential learning theater that can easily be transformed into a variety of settings, creating real-life scenarios to help teach students and professionals complicated, high-risk skills.

“In order to deliver exceptional medical training to the next generation of physicians and physician assistants, we must transform how and where our students learn,” said Michael L. Good, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine. “The Harrell Building is strategically designed to support this shift in teaching and learning.”

Heather Harrell, M.D., granddaughter of George Harrell and a 1995 graduate of the UF College of Medicine, spoke during the ceremony, reflecting on her grandfather’s vision for the medical school more than 50 years ago.

“My grandfather passionately believed that educating medical students was the only unique mission of a medical school, and that medical students must feel valued not just by the faculty, but that their physical surroundings should also affirm their value,” Harrell said.

The groundbreaking celebration was held on the site of the new Medical Education Building, located on the north edge of the UF Health Science Center on Newell Drive across from the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute.