DETROIT, June 4, 2009 – The Wayne State University School of Medicine this week celebrates the opening of the Richard J. Mazurek, M.D., Medical Education Commons, the new education hub for Michigan physicians and the new face of the nation’s largest single-campus medical college.
The building, paid for entirely with private donations, further cements the School of Medicine’s ongoing commitment to the city of Detroit, and establishes a state-of-the-science training center for the university that educates the majority of physicians who practice medicine in Michigan.
The $35 million investment is a bright spot in a region that has experienced its share of difficulties in a challenging economy, university officials said.
“The opening of this facility ensures the best training for the majority of Michigan’s doctors and researchers,” said Robert M. Mentzer Jr., dean of the School of Medicine and senior adviser to the president for medical affairs. “This building stands as a testament that groups of dedicated people can pull together and make good things happen even in the face of economic difficulties.”
The building nearly doubles the class space at the School of Medicine, vital considering that the Michigan State Medical Society anticipates that the state faces a critical shortage of physicians. The Mazurek Commons provides the facilities and opportunity for the School of Medicine to further expand incoming class sizes to meet the needs of the people of Michigan.
The building, which includes a newly revised Shiffman Medical Library, is named for Richard J. Mazurek, M.D., a 1961 graduate of the School of Medicine. Dr. Mazurek, now deceased, was honored with a naming gift of $10.2 million by his partner, Nick Labedz. That gift stands as the largest single donation to Wayne State University.
The three-story, 53,000-square-foot commons connects to the School of Medicine’s Scott Hall via an elevated and enclosed walkway between the two buildings. The training facilities available in the new building will be among the best and most challenging in the nation. The Clinical Skills Center includes four simulation labs, two of which are fully functioning operating rooms. Each of the labs contains patient mannequins that can speak, breathe, bleed and display a spectrum of symptoms to test medical students. Instructors can observe students in action from outside the rooms and challenge students by constantly tweaking the “patient’s” conditions.
The center will include examination rooms in which students and residents will interact with live “patients” trained to enact any number of symptoms and conditions. The exam rooms are fitted with cameras and all interactions are videotaped so that instructors may provide immediate feedback or review the tapes with students later.
“Many of our students tell us that they choose Wayne State University because of our ability to see and treat such a wide variety of conditions through our commitment to serve the regional population,” said Robert Frank, M.D., executive vice dean of the School of Medicine. “This new building and our new training equipment will ensure that we continue to produce the physicians and researchers of the future.”
Another key component of the new facility will be its ability to serve as a hub for Continuing Medical Education courses. Physicians from around the state and country will have access to ongoing professional medical education at the Mazurek Commons, bringing with them a welcome regional economic boost in use of hotel rooms, taxis and dining expenses.
“The opening of the Richard J. Mazurek, M.D., Medical Education Commons is another example of the university’s commitment to professional medical education and research that will benefit not only Detroit and our region, but the nation as a whole,” said Wayne State University President Jay Noren. “We are all very grateful to Nick Labedz for his generosity in making this a reality.”