Missouri is getting help with its rural physician shortage from the UMKC School of Medicine.
In addition to planning a major expansion of its rural medicine campus at Mosaic Life Care in St. Joseph, the medical school is making renovations to its Kansas City building in the Health Sciences District (HSD).
“Ensuring top-notch education and training at both of our campuses starts with creating learning spaces that are state-of-the-art,” said School of Medicine Dean Mary Anne Jackson, M.D. “These renovations are key to our mission.”
The updates will provide new high-tech teaching areas for students in rural medicine as the school continues to expand its medical education program with a goal of ultimately increasing the number of physicians practicing in rural Missouri and surrounding areas.
“These HSD renovations are intimately tied to the program at St. Joseph to provide the same pre-clinical training for rural medicine on the Kansas City campus as what students are receiving at Mosaic in St. Joseph,” said School of Medicine Vice Dean Paul Cuddy. “We’re training students in St. Joseph to practice in these rural areas. As part of that training operation, some of what we’re trying to do is improve the educational spaces for our students.”
Currently underway in Kansas City is a fourth-floor renovation and expansion of an existing classroom space into an area that will accommodate up to 30 students. The room will house three 85-inch display monitors, two high definition cameras for video conferencing and white boards for group collaborations. The project also includes construction of a new student study area for HSD-based students with an interest in rural medicine.
After the construction on the fourth floor is complete, another renovation project is scheduled to begin early next year on the school’s second floor. That project will combine the current Graduate Medical Education office suite with an adjoining area to create a large, state-of-the-art educational space.
The new second floor educational spaces in Kansas City, while big enough to accommodate a large number of students, will also be set up to allow for small-group learning, using multiple study-group tables of up to six students, as opposed to typical classroom or auditorium seating. Each workstation will have a 65-inch display monitor for remote learning and lectures. The room will also have an 86-inch multi-touch display monitor and high-definition cameras for video conferencing.
The classroom is being designed to create an intimate setting that mimics the classroom setting planned for the new medical school building that will be constructed soon on the St. Joseph campus. The goal is an active learning environment intentionally designed to merge the two campuses.
The construction taking place in Kansas City and St. Joseph is part of the School of Medicine’s ongoing efforts to meet the medical needs of rural Missouri. Nearly half of Missouri’s rural counties are facing physician shortages according to a Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services report.
The School of Medicine opened its rural medicine program in St. Joseph in January 2021. Now it is working to extend those educational experiences to students on the Kansas City campus.
“We’re trying to set up these classrooms to make the two campuses as seamless as they can possibly be through technology and educational spaces,” said Mike Wacker, associate dean for academic affairs. “Students taking classes in the Health Sciences District will have an opportunity to have exposure to the activities that are really geared to students with a rural medicine mindset. The fourth-floor classroom will be set up so students feel as if they are sitting in the classroom at St. Joseph. We’re being very intentional about making that experience very consistent.”
Renovations on the School of Medicine’s fourth floor are expected to be completed by the end of the year, with classes to be held in the new learning space as early as January 2023. Work on the second-floor project is projected to begin in January, and is expected to be completed in time to be used for classes in the 2023 Fall semester.
Earlier this year, the school completed a renovation of the second-floor medical education media center. The area was transformed to serve as an extension of the school’s Clinical Training Facility, offering additional simulation-based training with the use of high-fidelity simulation manikins and training models.