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New Era of Medical Education

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The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine is opening its doors to a new era of medical education with the $158.6 million James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Medical Education Center.
The 12-story, 200,000-square-foot building houses the most significant renovation to the VCU School of Medicine’s curriculum in more than 30 years. The new facility will underscore VCU’s commitment to student success, human health and research.

“The new building and new curriculum will help us address a projected national and statewide physician shortage, allowing us to make room for a larger class size and increase enrollment,” said Sheldon Retchin, M.D., CEO of Virginia Commonwealth University Health System and vice president for health sciences at VCU.

Individual class enrollment will be increased from 200 to 250 and which raises the total medical student body to 1,000. The university’s priority to treat and cure cancer will be enabled even further through the new building – the top floors will house the VCU Massey Cancer Center’s research pavilions.

The opening of the new building coincides with the launch of new medical school curriculum that has been several years in the planning by a committee of more than 200 faculty and students from the School of Medicine.

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“We were fortunate to be developing a new curriculum at the same time plans for the new building began to take shape,” said Jerome F. Strauss, III, M.D., Ph.D., dean, VCU School of Medicine and executive vice president for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System.

“The new curriculum supports new types of learning that were identified by the committee, and includes team-based learning, individual problem-based learning and simulation. We have been able to take the curriculum and physically map it onto the new building.”

In 2011, VCU officials announced a $25 million donation – one of the largest in the university’s history -- to the VCU School of Medicine by James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin. The donation itself was made in recognition of Harold Young, M.D., director of the Harold F. Young Neurosurgical Center at the VCU Medical Center. Both alumni and community foundations have rallied around the project and made significant contributions to support these efforts.

Designed by I.M. Pei’s internationally acclaimed architectural firm, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, and Ballinger architects, the building also is considered to be an important addition to Richmond’s architectural heritage.

The structure was built to meet the United States Green Building Council’s criteria for LEED Silver certification, and final LEED certification is anticipated in three to six months.
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the council’s leading rating system for designing and constructing the world’s greenest, most energy efficient and high-performing buildings.

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