UTHSC Celebrates Grand Opening of $39.7 Million Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation

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Leaders and administrators at UTHSC cut the ribbon to the new $39.7 million Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation. (Photo by Allen Gillespie)

More than 100 health care professionals, administrators, and supporters joined the University of Tennessee Health Science Center today for the grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation (CHIPS).

Among the guests were State Representative Antonio Parkinson; Michael Ugwueke, DHA, FACHE, president and chief executive officer of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare; Mary Armour, president of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, and Robert Kaplan, MD, prominent Memphis dermatologist and long-time supporter of UTHSC.

The occasion was the culmination of three years of construction and $39.7 million in funding for the 45,000-square-foot building, which is the only one of its kind in Tennessee totally dedicated to educating and developing enhanced clinical skills through simulation training.

A bronze bust of Dr. Brown, created by Maddie Singer, director of anaplastology and instructor in the College of Dentistry’s Department of Prosthodontics, was unveiled during the event. (Photo by Allen Gillespie)

“There are many people in this room who played a part in this. This has been a collective effort,” said Ken Brown, JD, MPA, PhD, FACHE, executive vice chancellor and chief operations officer of UTHSC. “I think the people of the state of Tennessee deserve this facility.”

The lobby of the building is dedicated to Dr. Brown, the visionary for the building. A bronze bust created by Maddie Singer, director of anaplastology and instructor in the College of Dentistry’s Department of Prosthodontics, was unveiled during the event. The bust will remain in the CHIPS lobby to honor Brown.

One of only a handful simulation centers in the country, CHIPS will transform the way students from all six colleges at UTHSC learn through the use of more than 100 standardized patients, up to $220,000 in high-fidelity manikins, and virtual reality technology.

“This building fundamentally changes preclinical health science education,” said UTHSC Chancellor Steve Schwab, MD.

Prior to the completion of CHIPS, students from the Colleges of Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Health Professions, Nursing, Medicine, and Pharmacy generally trained within their colleges.

Now, CHIPS will allow all colleges and disciplines to train together, reflecting today’s health care working environment. Cross-disciplinary training has been a proven education model among health care training sites to ensure enhanced clinical skills in a team environment.

“As a simulation staff, we see our role to support the faculty on all the great work that is going to be done here, and doing that with a level of quality,” said Chad Epps, MD, executive director of CHIPS. “Our role as a simulation staff is to ensure that everything done is consistent with the standards of best practices in simulation education.”

The building has already been recognized with a 2018 Award of Excellence by the American Institute of Architects, Memphis Chapter, and positions UTHSC in the forefront of health care education.