Focusing on quality and safety


One-of-a-Kind Medical Training Facility Open in Tampa

The University of South Florida is taking to heart the old adage “practice makes perfect.” Their new medical training facility in downtown Tampa, which occupies an entire city block, is a place where students and health professionals can learn new skills and rehearse them, practice what they already know, or take a quick refresher course.

“We really think this will be a center of national prominence . . . for professionals around the world to learn the latest procedure,”says Dr. Deborah Sutherland, the facility’s chief executive officer.

Situated along the Interstate 4 corridor in downtown Tampa,the$38 million USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS)is positioned to be a major player in the technological corridor between St. Petersburg and Orlando.

It brings together under one roof every form of professional health training for individuals and teams. And it spells opportunity, not only to learn – but to teach. Dr. Sijo Parekattil, Winter Haven Hospital’s Director of Urology and Robotic Surgery and a Polk County Medical Association member,hasbooked CAMLS for the annual Robotic Assisted Microsurgical and Endoscopic Society (RAMSES)meeting, expected to draw 100 to 200 participants from around the globe.The schedule calls for live robotic surgery, transmitted into CAMLS by video signals from Winter Haven Hospital.Surgeons also can sign up for one-on-one training at CAMLS’ robotic labs.

“RAMSES is all about cutting edge. CAMLS is a perfect setting,” says Dr. Parekattil,who plans to perform a robotic denervation of the spermatic cord. “They will see exactly how it works.”

The RAMSES meeting is slated forNovember 9 through 11, with registration free for Polk County, USF, and Tampa participants.(See

“There’s no place quite like it,”Dr. Parekattil says about CAMLS. “It will really, really be cool.”

Visitors at the massive three-story 90,000 square foot building find what looks like a hospital clinic, pharmacy, and intensive care clinic. There are also 35 mock surgery stationswhere users can practice microsurgery,endoscopic and image-guided surgery. Its hybrid operating theatre is a room where users can simulate a heart attack, diagnose it, and then simulate balloon and open-heart surgery.

“This is the only place on the planet that has this technology,”says Dr. John Armstrong, a trauma surgeon who serves as CAMLS’ chief medical officer.”Currently the patient has to move, that entails 45 minutes plus of time [ . . . ] The outcomes from that movement are not favorable for the patient.”

CAMLS works with assorted groups like the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, universities and doctors’ groups to present courses, reports Beverly Hughes, CAMLS’ executive director.

To take a course, Hughes advises interested persons to contact CAMLS through their health facility and ask for time, space and faculty to work with them on a particular skill set. This could be useful in many different scenarios, like when a woman needs to refresh her skills after being out of the workforce to have a baby, she says.

CAMLS serves everyone from medical students, to residents, to practicing clinicians, providing “education and training activities and programs that have measurable outcomes,” Armstrong says. They can train as individuals and as teams, learning collectively how to react to different scenarios like a premature infant who stops breathing or a soldier wounded in combat.

The goal of the center is to “raise the bar of quality and safety higher and higher and higher,” says Armstrong.”We are [ . . . ] in position to help learners identify their gaps and remove those gaps and constantly seek quality improvement.”

“We are moving from a model where they [doctors] were captain of the ship to being leader of the team,” Armstrong adds.”The idea is to constantly improve quality and safety in health care by improving the skills of all health professionals.”

The facility, funded through bonds and its users,boasts trauma and hybrid operating room suites,a virtual clinic, hospital and pharmacies with state-of-the-art simulation;a 200-seat auditorium of the future; and a research and innovation laboratory. It offers multi-specialty robotics surgery training and audio-video recording of team training performance.

Some 20,000 health professionals are expected to use the CAMLS facility during the first 12 to 18 months, Armstrong reports, with usage projected to climb to 60,000 per year within three to five years. “We are where we expected to be with bookings at 30 percent,” Sutherland says. “CAMLS is open seven days a week scheduling activities on the weekend as well as during the week.”

To learn more about CAMLS, which opened in February, visit





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