Making MO Doctors

The new Patient-Centered Care Learning Center prepares students to become better physicians.

medical building exterior

The new Patient-Centered Care Learning Center accommodates medical student class expansion. Photo by Justin Kelley.

The MU School of Medicine celebrated the official opening of its $42.5 million, 98,888-square-foot, Patient-Centered Care Learning Center July 28. The medical-education facility “marks the fulfillment of a vision shared by MU, CoxHealth and Mercy Springfield that began eight years ago when the three organizations started working together to train patient-centered care physicians to work in Missouri and beyond,” says UM System President Mun Choi.

The partnership has allowed the school to expand class sizes from 96 to 128 students. In addition to educating hundreds of additional physicians for Missouri, the expansion will add more than $390 million annually to the state’s economy and create 3,500 new jobs.

More than 90 percent of Missouri’s counties lack adequate access to health-care professionals. At the same time, Missouri ranks among the top 20 states with residents older than 65, who require more medical care. The number of elderly people with multiple chronic diseases likely will double by 2030.

“This new learning environment will explicitly focus the students’ attention on the people they are preparing to serve,” says Weldon Webb, BA ’69, MA ’72, associate dean for the Springfield Clinical Campus implementation at MU.

When it comes to medical research, Choi’s near-term priorities include a $150 million Translational Precision Medicine Complex at MU. The complex will increase high-level laboratory facilities for interdisciplinary collaboration that foster leading-edge discoveries in precision medicine. This emerging field — which approaches disease treatment and prevention through individual variability in genes, environment and lifestyle — promises medical outcomes barely imaginable today.

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