School of Medicine nearly complete

By on February 12, 2013
SoM-screenshot

Approximately 75 percent of the new building on the North Haven campus is fully constructed to hold the School of Medicine, Dean of the School of Medicine Bruce Koeppen said. Faculty will begin moving into the new space March 1 and the full complex is expected to be completed by July, about one month before classes begin.

Photo courtesy Quinnipiac University
When the new school opens in July, it will make Quinnipiac one of fewer than 100 universities in the country that have both a medical and law school, President John Lahey said at “State of the QUnion.”

Currently, the schools of health science and nursing occupy building one while the new medical school will be in building two. What Koeppen calls “The Grand Connector” will link the two buildings.

“It’s going to look like a single building with two wings rather than two separate buildings … On the ground floor, [we will have] a conference center with a 315-seat auditorium and space adjacent [called the] multi-purpose room,” Koeppen said.

The multi-purpose room can be used for dinners, poster presentations and receptions.

“We’re also building a 16-room clinical skills assessment center,” Koeppen said. “We will be using actors to simulate patients with different diseases. Students from all three schools of health professions will have the opportunity to interact with these actors … but those same actors are trained to assess how well the student does.”

According to Koeppen, there will be a few large lecture halls, seminar rooms, team study rooms and a human anatomy suite so students will no longer need to travel to Yale. There will also be two simulation operating rooms and collaborative classrooms.

“[The collaborative classrooms] are the highest of high-tech rooms, Koeppen said. “Each room has four tables; eight students can sit at [each] table and at the head of the table is a large flat screen monitor. All eight students [at a single table] simultaneously plug in their laptops and with a little toggle at their seat, they can select whose laptop gets displayed.”

“The faculty member has an iPad … and can pick any one of the 32 students and with the push of a button on the iPad project that student’s laptop on the flat screen on all four tables. So you can collaborate as a small group of eight or you can collaborate with a classroom of 32.”

There will be four of such rooms, meaning there can be up to 128 students projecting and displaying information to the rest of the class.

“We have built a medical school on an educational model,” Koeppen said. “Many of the traditional medical schools have very large research programs, very large clinical practices, and the education of medical students is the third and often lesser priority.”

The new faculty at the medical school do not hold positions in medical research or clinics so they can spend as much time as possible working with students.

“Our number one priority is the education of medical students,” Koeppen said. “Our full-time faculty are not required to do anything to generate other sources of money, such as research grants or patient care. They are there to teach our students.”

Another appealing feature of the new school, Koeppen said, is the physical building itself.

“I think the other attraction is the building that we will be moving into is absolutely state of the art in terms of anything and everything you would want in order to teach and learn medicine,” he said. “It is high tech from top to bottom and [an] absolutely magnificent space.”

The idea of a medical school on campus was first proposed by Quinnipiac’s president John Lahey in 2009 to the senior leadership of the university, according to Koeppen.

“[Lahey] asked the question of whether it was worth it for Quinnipiac to build a medical school and the response he got back was that it did make sense, particularly given the strengths of the other health profession programs,” Koeppen said.

Quinnipiac hired a consulting group that same year to complete a needs-analysis and a feasibility study to compute if a medical school would work on campus, according to Koeppen.

Next, the consulting group presented its findings to the Board of Trustees in December 2009, saying there was a need for a third medical school in Connecticut and that it made sense to focus on primary care, Koeppen said. The other two medical schools in Connecticut belong to Yale University and University of Connecticut.

The Board of Trustees then approved what would become a nearly $100 million investment, and on Nov. 1, 2010, construction began on the new school, according to Koeppen.

The new school will feature 25 full-time faculty members and more than 200 clinical faculty at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, Conn., Midstate Hospital and Middlesex Hospital, according to Koeppen.

The School of Medicine located in the North Haven campus will open its doors to students this coming fall, when approximately 60 students are expected to enter, Koeppen said. The number of students in the school will eventually reach 125.

“I have to say the last couple years building the new medical school at Quinnipiac has been the most exciting and most fun thing I’ve done in my entire career.  It has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m very grateful that I was given the chance to do this,” Koeppen said.

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