SOM celebrates opening of new student areas, testing facility

Some students on the School of Medicine’s Red Docent Unit now have a new place to call home.

School of Medicine Dean Betty M. Drees, M.D., and UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton took part in an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 3 to celebrate the opening of the School’s new third-floor docent unit and a new testing and training center on the first floor of the medical school.

UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton, left, School of Medicine Dean Betty Drees, M.D., and Steve Curti, MS 4, a member of the Red 7 Docent Unit,  participated in the ribbon-cutting on Aug. 3 to celebrate the opening of a new third-floor docent unit and a new first-floor testing and training center.

The updated facilities are part of a nearly $3-million project to accommodate increases in student enrollment and to provide an enhanced a learning atmosphere that supports student retention and success.

“One of the things we’ve been trying to do over the last few years is continually update areas of our building, particularly for the students,” Drees said. “The learning environment is incredibly important for students. It’s also important for those of us who work here. So we’re really excited about this.”

The new third-floor student unit will house the Red 5, Red 7 and Red 8 docent teams and provides a new study area and lockers for students on the Purple unit that is housed at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City.

The new unit will serve as a prototype for feedback prior to planning further remodeling of the school’s other docent units. Funding for the renovation came from the Caring for Missourians initiative.

The 37-seat computer testing and training center provide will provide students with an experience comparable to taking the national certification examinations.

“I’m not just excited because you’re getting new facilities but I’m excited because I know what it will mean to you and to your development,” Morton said while addressing students, faculty and staff who attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “I know what that development means to our community.

“The places I’ve been across the state and around the region, what I hear repeatedly is that the physicians who graduate from here are the best clinicians in the country and I couldn’t agree more.”

Nearly $500,000 in additional upgrades have been made throughout the remainder of the medical school including upgrades to each of the theaters and the main lobby area.

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