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UTHSC Advisory Board Tours Memphis Campus

The UTHSC Advisory Board got the opportunity to see the Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation (CHIPS) on Monday. Dr. Chad Epps, executive director of CHIPS, demonstrated the state-of-the-art equipment. (Photo by Sally Badoud/UTHSC)

Members of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Advisory Board got an up-close look at the Memphis campus this week during their third meeting since the board was established by the state legislature last year.

On Monday, the members took a walking tour to see some of the newest additions on campus, including the Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation, the Emergency Operations Center in the General Education Building, and the Translational Science Research Building. They also visited the Dunn Dental Building, which is set for renovation.

Prior to the tour, Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Operations Officer Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE, presented an overview of the campus and its evolution. He said the campus had grown from the original footprint of the Historic Quadrangle into various surrounding buildings that, for the most part, were donated to the university.

“The growth of the UTHSC campus was pretty incidental,” Dr. Brown said. “We took a lot of buildings, and the majority of the buildings were buildings somebody no longer wanted, and most of them were in various states of disrepair.”

The Campus Master Plan, unveiled in 2014, outlined an intentional framework for growth that included $8 million to $10 million in demolition of buildings that were beyond repair and more than $250 million in construction and renovation over the last four to five years.

Dr. Brown said the university has evolved into “a contemporary state-of-the art academic medical center.”

He pointed out new buildings that have raised the profile of the campus.

  • The Translational Science Research Building with its open-concept interior eliminated siloed research in favor of collaborative work across disciplines. “It has been relatively successful, as evidenced in the number of multidisciplinary grants we get,” Dr. Brown said.
  • The Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation draws people from all over the country to look at the building. “We like to think we are a national leader in medical simulation,” he said.
  • The Plough Center for Sterile Drug Delivery Solutions started with a $5 million contribution from the Plough Foundation, and after another roughly $20 million in work, will soon be moving into full pharmaceutical production.

Renovation of the Historic Quadrangle now underway at the center of campus will bring a new home for the College of Nursing in the Crowe Building, administrative office space in the Mooney Building, and basic science lab space in the Nash and Nash Annex.

Work on the new Delta Dental Building that will wrap the existing Dunn Dental Building on Union Avenue will begin in a few months, he said. College of Dentistry Dean James Ragain, DDS, MS, PhD, FICD, FACD, said the new space will include a special needs clinic, a 126-seat lecture auditorium, expanded room for the faculty practice, dental simulation training space, and more. “We are really excited about it,” he said. “It has been a long time coming.”

Dr. Brown thanked Delta Dental of Tennessee for its leading role in the project. “I want to take the opportunity professionally and personally to express my appreciation to Dr. (Phil) Wenk and Delta Dental for the very generous contribution they made to make this project possible,” he said. Delta Dental contributed $7 million of the $46 million for the facelift of the building. Phil Wenk, DDS, is president and CEO of Delta Dental of Tennessee and chairs the advisory board.

Board members acknowledged their role as advocates for future growth of the university. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Norris suggested the board receive updates as the master plan evolves.

The board welcomed fourth-year medical student Andrew McBride as its student representative. The next meeting is scheduled for September 30.