UTMB dedicates Health Education Center

Oct 20, 2019, 19:34 PM by Stephen Hadley

image of art installation in health education center

Galveston Campus facility ushers in focus on interprofessional education

UTMB DEDICATED its $91.6 million, state-of-the-art Health Education Center on its Galveston Campus on Oct. 18.

The formal ceremony, attended by hundreds of students, faculty members, employees and state and local dignitaries, marked the culmination of years of planning, fundraising initiatives and construction of a facility that firmly places UTMB on the cutting-edge of health sciences education in the United States. 

“This building, of course, enables us to accommodate growth in our student enrollments,” said Dr. Ben G. Raimer, UTMB’s president ad interim, noting that enrollment has increased more than 45 percent over the past decade. “But it represents so much more than the bricks, mortar and glass. It represents the future of health science education and how we approach educating our students well into the future.” 

The HEC, and its focus on innovative health education including a host of technologically-advanced simulation centers, are of particular importance now because Texas and the U.S. continue to face critical shortages of health care providers at a time when the number of patients needing such care is rising. 

The center, which at 160,000-square-feet is currently the largest facility of its kind in the nation, provides UTMB’s students and faculty with a world-class training center that leads the way in simulation and interprofessional education. The interdisciplinary approach, which incorporates a curriculum that includes students from all four of UTMB’s schools, breaks down the silos in which health care professionals have traditionally been trained. 

When it first opened in August, the HEC offered students an opportunity to work together in care teams and in simulations that mirror situations they’d encounter in a real-world, patient care setting but in a low-risk environment. 

Faith Mason, president of UTMB’s Student Government Association, said students supported the construction of the HEC since it was first announced. 

“This facility, and the learning that goes on within it, will benefit not only our students but also every person touched by the care our graduates will provide and the discoveries they will make in the future,” she said. “We’re excited to envision all of the good that will come from this facility.” 

Chancellor James Milliken, Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. John Zerwas and Janiece Longoria, vice chair of the Board of Regents, spoke on behalf of UT System about the importance of the facility in educating the future health care leaders who will care for Texans in the decades to come. 

Raimer thanked UT System for ensuring the HEC’s construction remained a priority and state legislators for supporting a $67.8 million Tuition Revenue Bond to make the facility possible. He also praised the generous philanthopic support—from both foundations and individuals—that contributed to the balance of the funding necessary to make the HEC a reality. 

“Your support is a testament to UTMB’s spirit of collaboration and ongoing commitment to define the future of health care, not just at UTMB but everywhere,” Raimer said. 

To watch the HEC dedication, visit https://www.youtube.com/embed/MrxRo0vmTpM.