Wake Forest Baptist Celebrates New Era of Medical Education with Opening of the Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education

July 19, 2016

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center today announced completion of the new medical education building for its School of Medicine. The Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education opened in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem after an 18-month renovation of a former Reynolds American tobacco manufacturing plant.

The Bowman Gray Center qualified for historic tax credits worth more than $23 million toward its estimated $60 million cost.

“Today marks the end of a well-executed vision to move a significant portion of our School of Medicine and become part of a community of innovation, discovery and collaboration in Wake Forest Innovation Quarter,” said John D. McConnell, M.D., CEO, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “Wake Forest School of Medicine’s growth is not defined by this new location, but by its great faculty, staff, students and alumni. Its footprint now covers many education, research and health care facilities including the new Bowman Gray Center.”

The facility is designed with the next generation of physician-leaders in mind. Today’s medical learners are diverse, just like our patients. They are technologically savvy. Team-based, interprofessional learning for our students requires the flexible space - the new building provides and includes a tiered classroom, large and small group classrooms, as well as dedicated areas for quiet, individual study.

“We are preparing a collaborative, highly skilled health care workforce that is better prepared to respond to our community’s health needs,” said Edward Abraham, M.D., dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine. “Research shows patient outcomes improve with interprofessional team-based care. Medical students who learn alongside students from other health care professions report a better understanding of collaborative care, and higher levels of overall satisfaction with their medical training and practice.”

The timing of today’s opening of the new Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education coincides with Wake Forest School of Medicine introducing one of the most advanced medical school curricula in the country. It allows medical students to prepare for real-life experiences in the most modern of settings: from outpatient clinic to trauma center bay, complete with the new informatics and technologies used in patient care today.

The Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education consists of five floors with spaces uniquely fitted for the medical student now and in the future.

Teleconferencing Learning Spaces. The fifth floor is home to a setting that prepares students for a modern medical career with expanded technology, new and different types of study spaces to accommodate team-based learning, and more opportunities for educators from all aspects of medicine to interact with students. It consists of a tiered classroom that seats 165 and is designed to encourage students to work together; two large flat, flexible space classrooms; a small flat, flexible space classroom; teleconferencing capabilities in all classrooms; and four small group study classrooms.

Experiential Learning Spaces. Our experiential curriculum focuses on safety and quality throughout the medical school continuum and uses various learning modalities and technologies appropriate for today’s learners. The fourth floor includes a large clinical skills center with 20 simulated patient rooms (18 outpatient clinic rooms and two inpatient hospital rooms). The Advanced Clinical Skills area focuses on training in procedures and ultrasound skills. The Center for Experiential Learning includes a resuscitation suite, an operating/procedures suite and an intensive care suite. Cameras throughout the entire experiential learning area allow faculty to watch and record from a control room as well as remotely monitor performance from any location with a computer. This experiential training will prepare our graduates to recognize system error, advocate for system improvement, and be stewards of safe, high-quality, and high-value, patient-centered care. Students will practice the unique skills needed to deliver patient-centered care resulting in improved health outcomes for the patients they will serve.

Clinical Anatomy. Medical students will learn the fundamentals of human structure and development in an expanded laboratory on the fourth floor. Anatomy is fully integrated with physiology and pathology in the first and second years of the curriculum. A comprehensive ultrasound curriculum has been integrated into programs in anatomy and physiology. The Advanced Clinical Skills lab on the fourth floor will provide space for ultrasound training. While ultrasound has become a fundamental part of modern medical practice, starting training in this modality during medical school is relatively uncommon. Teaching this skill is of major importance in enhancing student learning, applying anatomic and physiologic knowledge in a comprehensive manner, and improving patient safety.

Student Houses. Student life is a very important aspect of the health and well-being of medical students. Each year’s class is divided into collaborative groups that will occupy four “houses” on the third floor. The houses are not areas for residential living but rather spaces where students can gather for mentoring, group study, conversation, meals, exercise and rest.

Deacon Gallery. Located on the first floor is a gallery to inspire current and future medical students about the role Wake Forest School of Medicine has played in advancing medical education, research and clinical care. The gallery will rotate exhibits that inspire all who walk through it. The Gallery will be completed at the end of August.

The Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education connects via a bridge on the fifth floor to 525@vine, home to Wake Forest Baptist’s department of physician assistant studies and its nurse anesthesia program.

The renovated former 60 series R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company complex encompasses the new School of Medicine in 168,000 square feet of space on the north side of the building. Next year, Wake Forest University will introduce new undergraduate programs in biomedical sciences and engineering in 115,000 square feet on the south side of the building.

“Dr. McConnell and Dean Abraham’s vision for the future of medical education is complemented by the intersection of tradition and innovation that defines the school’s new location,” said Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch. “This building, which will literally and figuratively bring medical and liberal arts education together under one roof, greatly enhances opportunities for closer collaboration among our students and deeper engagement within our community.”

The Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education was developed in partnership with Wake Forest Baptist’s Innovation Quarter partner, Wexford Science + Technology, LLC. The other principals involved in the project are Gaudreau Architects which designed the project and general contractor Whiting-Turner which constructed the building seeking LEED certification, as determined by the U.S. Green Building Council.

“Wake Forest Baptist has been an excellent partner in this project to bring the vision for a knowledge-based community to life in downtown Winston-Salem,” said Daniel C. Cramer, senior vice president of development, Wexford. “Together we’ve shared a single vision in developing these communities – from Biotech Place to 525@vine to now the Bowman Gray Center for Medical Education.”

Wake Forest’s first year medical students, the Class of 2020, will arrive next week for orientation and begin classes in the new building. 

For more information, visit: http://school.wakehealth.edu

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (www.wakehealth.edu) is a nationally recognized academic medical center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with an integrated enterprise including educational and research facilities, hospitals, clinics, diagnostic centers and other primary and specialty care facilities serving 24 counties in northwest North Carolina and southwest Virginia. Its divisions are Wake Forest Baptist Health, a regional clinical system that includes Brenner Children’s Hospital and has close to 175 locations, 900 physicians and 1,000 acute care beds; Wake Forest School of Medicine, an established leader in medical education and research; and Wake Forest Innovations, which accelerates the commercialization of research discoveries and specialized research capabilities of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and operates Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, an urban district for research, business and education. Wake Forest Baptist clinical, research and educational programs are annually ranked among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report.

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Media Relations

Paula Faria: pfaria@wakehealth.edu, 336-716-1279

Mac Ingraham: mingraha@wakehealth.edu, 336-716-3487