New simulation hospital opening at University of Miami

The 41,000 square-foot facility replicates a hospital in order to give practical training to medical students.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Credit: University of Miami Health SystemCredit: University of Miami Health System

Starting Thursday, there'll be a shift in how the University of Miami trains it medical students. That's when the School of Nursing and Health Studies' Simulation Hospital officially opens its doors, and what sets the 41,000 square-foot facility apart is that it replicates a hospital as well as a fully functioning health system.

All the hallmarks of a simulation hospital will be there, particularly the technology, which can simulate a wide range of clinical challenges, from attending to a heart attack to delivering a baby. That type of training is commonly used to prepare budding health professionals to deal with live patients.

The difference is scale: It's expected to be among the largest and most advanced simulation hospitals of its kind, across the country and the world. Officials described the leap as similar to using a slide rule in high school and now having access to a supercomputer.

Former SONHS Dean Nilda Peragallo Montano is credited with leading the fundraising efforts for the new facility, which was estimated to cost about $12 million.

Hurricane Irma threatened to delay the dedication ceremony, and in fact did interrupt the final phase of construction preparations over the past few weeks. But university officials have chosen to look at the positive. While Irma ripped through South Florida and left a wake of damage, injuries and loss of life, the simulation hospital offers an effective environment for trainees to practice and prepare for such disasters in the future, whether natural or human-made.

Among the benefits the hospital will offer is a venue for community partners, corporate partners and different university departments to convene to develop rapid and effective responses to emerging infectious diseases, disasters, terrorism and climate induced threats such as Irma.

Thursday's dedication ceremony is at capacity, but there will be a symposium on Friday from 9 a.m. to noon in the hospital's second-floor auditorium focusing on disaster response.

Twitter: @JELagasse
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