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Monday, July 15, 2019



Why this addition on the LSUHS campus is so important to health care and the economy in north Louisiana

In the case of LSU Health Shreveport, a new building is so much more than just increasing the size of the institution. It is a hard-earned sign of a brighter future – a future that affects almost every citizen in north Louisiana due to its irreplaceable role in health-care delivery, medical education and the economy.

For over five decades north Louisiana has taken pride in having a medical school in the region, but the reality is that LSU Health Shreveport (LSUHS) is so much more than a medical school. It offers two additional professional schools – the School for Allied Health Professions and the School of Graduate Studies. It also gives Shreveport bragging rights as one of only 142 U.S. cities home to an academic medical center, which is defined as one or more health profession schools and a university-based hospital. LSU Health Shreveport co-manages teaching hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe with Ochsner Health System. Add to that having a large Graduate Medical Education (GME) program that currently has a total of 561 residents and fellows in 40 accredited areas and a robust research enterprise, and you recognize the undeniable fact that the growth of LSU Health Shreveport is key to the advancement of north Louisiana.

As the first new building on campus since the School of Allied Health Professions opened in 2007, the Center for Medical Education and Wellness is required to accommodate growing class sizes and to comply with the accrediting body guidelines for student wellness, study and storage space, while enhancing faculty recruitment.

The new Center for Medical Education and Wellness is critically important to the community and state for a number of other reasons:

It increases the ability for LSUHS to address the physician shortage. Did you know that Louisiana has the 13th oldest physician workforce in the U.S.? The Louisiana Health Works Commission found that 2,892 new Louisiana primary care physicians are needed by 2020 to replace retiring physicians and meet increasing health-care demands. The fact that the population of those 65 years and older will double by 2030 is also a contributing factor to the physician shortage.

It provides more opportunities for young adults to achieve their dream of working in the medical field. We are facing an ongoing challenge of Louisiana’s brightest young adults moving out of state to complete their education. Increasing the number of spots available in other LSUHS programs, like the physician assistant and physical therapy programs in the School of Allied Health Professions, allows more students to achieve their educational goals in north Louisiana and contributes to the strategic plan of reducing Louisiana’s “brain drain.”

It provides a platform for strengthening the economic impact that LSU Health Shreveport has in our community. Currently, LSU Health Shreveport is the fifth largest employer in Shreveport/Bossier, with an annual payroll of $239,663,809 and an annual direct economic impact of almost $600 million. Increasing the medical school class size will further impact the economy as each physician entering the workforce generates an average of $2 million annually.

It enhances the relevance of LSU Health Shreveport. Growing the institution is one of the few ways to increase its relevance at the local, state and national level. To grow health care and bring in more dollars into our community, LSUHS must expand the options it provides to patients and students locally and globally, and this requires investment.

Key spaces in the Center for Medical Education and Wellness include:

Eight simulation labs – Students utilize sophisticated and costly “simulators” to develop diagnostic strength and skills for childbirth and cardiopulmonary episodes.

Four large clinical skills labs – These labs allow students to practice skills such as suturing, intubating, inserting IV lines, etc. before their first patient interaction.

Twenty standardized patient rooms – Did you know that LSUHS was one of the pioneers in having local citizens pose as patients in the training of medical students? This very successful program helps students learn critical skills such as taking medical histories, delivering bad news, etc.

Twenty-five small group rooms – These spaces allow groups of five to eight students to work together in quiet spaces that are rich in the most up-to-date technology as they solve assignments and prepare for testing.

A 500-seat auditorium – Currently, there is no single space on the LSUHS campus where all faculty can meet simultaneously or that multiple classes of medical students can meet together. The new auditorium will also facilitate continuing medical education (CME) events occurring on campus versus off-campus. Organizations outside of LSUHS will also be allowed to use the auditorium for a nominal fee.

Wellness Center with fitness studios, classroom with portable kitchen for healthy cooking classes, yoga studio and traditional exercise equipment. This center will promote using exercise to relieve stress and allow residents and physicians to practice the lifestyle they are promoting to patients.

How can you support the Center for Medical Education and Wellness?

By making a monetary gift. Every gift brings us one step closer to opening the doors of this needed facility. One-time gifts, pledges over five years, the donation of assets such as cars, stocks, etc. are all welcomed and appreciated. Gifts can be made online at www.lsuhsfoundation.org or by calling Kevin Flood, LSUHS Foundation president, at 318- 861-0855 or Lisa Babin, LSUHS executive director of public affairs, communication and development, at 318-675-8769. Naming opportunities are available.

The $46-$60 million needed to begin construction on the Center for Medical Education and Wellness is a 50/50 publicprivate funding model. In the most recent legislative session that ended on June 6, $26 million in state funding was approved, and more than $9 million in cash-in-hand and pledges have been received to date. The sooner the remaining private funds are raised, the sooner the building will be completed, and we can begin seeing its impact in our community.


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