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Ground broken on $100M training facility

School of Dentistry Dean Gary Chiodo joined his fellow UW Health Sciences deans and Washington state legislators on Aug. 27 at the official groundbreaking for the new Health Sciences Education Building on the southern edge of the UW campus.

Dean Chiodo at Groundbreaking in yellow vest and hardhat
Dean Gary Chiodo gets ready to help break ground for the new building.

The new $100 million, 100,000-square-foot facility, standing four stories tall, will house classrooms for training in integrated patient care. The state is funding $70 million of the cost, and the Health Sciences schools are responsible for the remainder. The dental school’s share will be $5 million. The University hopes to raise a substantial part of the $30 million it needs through private gifts, with the inducement of naming opportunities. The building, on Pacific Street just west of the Health Sciences Center, is to be completed by May 2022.

“This new facility will enable our students across the full range of health sciences to work in a setting that better mirrors the way they’ll be engaging in patient care as professionals,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce. “This will result in better care for the patients they serve, because we’ve seen the benefits that come from coordinating various health disciplines, rather than keeping them siloed.”

“I am proud to have worked with my legislative colleagues to support this project with nearly $70 million in state capital funds,” said Sen. David Frockt (D-46th District), who attended the ceremony. “Ensuring that UW Health Sciences students have access to state-of-the-art interdisciplinary training facilities is critical to our state’s health-care workforce pipeline.”

Key to the facility’s design are flexible spaces that allow for 21st-century teaching techniques, including high-tech learning facilities used for computer simulation, mock treatment labs and an ultra-modern Anatomy Lab Suite with virtual anatomy capabilities. The facility will also enable robust remote learning access for students and professionals in UW Medicine’s WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho) regional education program.

In addition, the health sciences deans envision a building with the capacity for students to immediately share ideas, images and projects in classrooms and in their working teams. The finished building will also have a library extension that is integrated into the main classroom floor to help students immediately engage evidence in their learning, gain skills in navigating resources and benefit from coaching about how to use library tools, resources and in their project work.

Fifty years ago, the average person was under the care of three health-care professionals. Now, the average healthy person relies on 16 professionals for their overall health care. Consequently, integrated patient care is increasingly necessary for the future of health sciences. The building will be a hub that fosters interaction, collaboration and cutting-edge learning necessary for recruiting and retaining talented students and faculty — critical to maintaining the UW’s top-ranked programs.

“The Health Sciences Education Building is a state-of-the-art facility that will prepare the next generation of professionals for a more collaborative, more collegial role as part of interprofessional teams to address today’s health care needs. From pandemics to health equity, the nation’s first integrated health sciences training facility will provide students with a high-tech learning space to develop solutions to global issues affecting population health,” said School of Nursing Executive Dean Azita Emami, who is also chair of the Board of Health Sciences Deans.