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MU School of Medicine opens clinical center

Monday, May 12, 2008 | 7:44 p.m. CDT; updated 2:17 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Robin Wootten shows off a specially designed mannequin on Monday at the MU School of Medicine's new $26.5 million Clinical Support and Education Building. The seven-story building houses the Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Clinical Simulation Center, a state-of-the-art facility for students learning how to perform medical procedures.

COLUMBIA — The MU School of Medicine opened the doors to its new $26.5 million Clinical Support and Education Building on Monday.

The seven-story building houses the Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Clinical Simulation Center, a state-of-the-art facility for students learning how to perform medical procedures. The center features high-tech mannequins that provide real-life situations for medical students, according to a news release from the school.

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“People feel safer and can perform better if they have performed in a simulation before going to a hospital,” said Robin Wootten, director of the simulation center.

With nine mannequins — including portable, wireless mannequins that can be moved from room to room as well as toddler and infant mannequins — medical students have a variety to practice on. A mannequin named Noel lets students practice birthing techniques.

Costs of the mannequins vary, with the most expensive, Russman, named after donor Russell Shelden, costing $250,000.

The mannequins have pulses and pupils that dilate and react to drugs, and they have the ability to twitch and seize.

The facility is equipped with a variety of scenario rooms, which let students experience different techniques. Hospital room scenarios let students practice taking 12-minute histories of patients and breaking bad news to them. The “patients” are actors, who provide feedback to the student.

Each room in the facility has audio and video recordings to provide feedback to the student.

“It helps change behavior,” Wootten said. “By repeating (procedures) over and over, students are better-prepared for the real world, and they haven’t practiced on a human for the first time.”

Although MU is not the first university to have a high-tech simulation center, it now has one of the largest in the United States, as it occupies the entire sixth floor of the Clinical Support and Education Building. Funding for the simulation center was made possible by a $2.3 million donation from Russell and Mary Shelden.

The Clinical Support and Education building, which was completed in February, will also house medical students, physicians, scientists and administrators. Funding for the construction of the building came from MU Health Care, the MU School of Medicine and other campus funds.


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