Community to Get Glimpse into Future of Health Care in New UArizona Health Sciences Innovation Building, Nov. 4–5

The nine-story Health Sciences Innovation Building (HSIB) on the University of Arizona Health Sciences campus opened its doors to students, faculty and staff over the summer. Now, the Tucson community is invited to participate in a forum on cancer prevention with several UArizona Health Sciences researchers and physicians, and to explore the new building through guided tours during an Open House Nov. 4–5.

The Forum, a large space on the building’s ground floor, was specifically designed to host community members for educational presentations on various health-care topics.

On Monday, Nov. 4, from 4–5:30 p.m., a panel discussion on cancer prevention will feature Clara Curiel, MD, and Juanita Merchant, MD, PhD, of the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson, Jennifer Hatcher, PhD, MPH, RN, and Daniel Derksen, MD, of Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and Lois Loescher, PhD, RN, of the UArizona College of Nursing.

The event will be livestreamed, and there will be opportunities for in-person and online audience participation. To register for the event, contact UAHS Events at

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, tours will be available between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. for the community to learn about the building’s unique environment that provides distinctive educational opportunities for Health Sciences students.

Visitors will be able to walk through the world-class Arizona Simulation Technology & Education Center (ASTEC), student learning areas, the future space of the Health Sciences design program, and clinical and professional skills spaces. Tours are first-come/first-served and will start at the top of the hour, with groups meeting in the Forum on the ground floor. To inquire about accessibility services, contact UAHS Events at

ASTEC, formerly located in the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson, now sits on the seventh floor of HSIB in a 35,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility — the most advanced in the nation.

Allan Hamilton, MD, FACS, ASTEC executive director and Regents Professor of Surgery, and his colleagues train the next generation of health sciences students and medical professionals in an environment where learners can be fully immersed in simulated events, such as a complicated birth scenario, a large-scale mass casualty or a forest fire. Students can practice their skills on bleeding, breathing manikins programmed with artificial intelligence and advanced engineering to simulate a wide range of patients and ailments.

Dr. Hamilton has been working with simulation for most of his career.

“Simulation is the education of the future,” Dr. Hamilton said, adding he believes it’s key to building the workforce, improving training and technology and addressing any unexpected problems that arise.

The student learning studios and study spaces are different from the traditional lecture halls familiar to most visitors. Furniture is on wheels, whiteboards quickly can be mounted and removed from walls, and students have access to “maker spaces” that include 3D printers and other versatile tools. Students will come together in “flipped” classrooms, spaces that allow for student interaction rather than taking notes while listening to lectures.

“The professor provides students with articles and materials to read and learn outside of the classroom, so when students attend class, they’re working through problems and advanced concepts,” said Margie Arnett, MS, interprofessional education specialist for UArizona Center for Interprofessional Transformative Healthcare. “The flipped-classroom concept reverses traditional learning into a dynamic, interactive environment.”

In addition to upgrading educational spaces, HSIB will be home to entirely new educational curricula. The Health Sciences design program will begin classes in spring 2020 with a pilot course in which teams will work under the guidance of faculty coaches to create actionable solutions to real-world health care problems. The goal is for the single class to blossom into a suite of courses that will form the basis for a certificate or minor in design thinking — perhaps someday an entire degree program.

A Health Sciences design classroom will bring together many minds. Although the UArizona Health Sciences campus will be the hub for this program, it will attract students from every corner of campus, fostering incredible academic diversity.

“I have seen the catalyst when you bring people together who have different backgrounds,” said Kasi Kiehlbaugh, PhD, director of the Health Sciences design program. “When we interface with people who are trained to see the world differently and think differently, new and exciting things happen. When students go out into their careers, they’ll have firsthand experience with the creativity that flows from that.”

Finally, on the eighth floor, 30 exam rooms are furnished with clinical equipment and staffed with standardized patients (SPs) — lay people who have been trained to portray patients with specific conditions, reporting their symptoms and reacting to physical exams as if they were suffering from those maladies. They also provide verbal and written feedback to students to help them hone both their clinical and communications skills.

“Practice makes perfect, whether it’s a hands-on maneuver with the patient or giving bad news. From the first week of medical school, the students see real patients and SPs,” said Elizabeth Leko, MPA, director of the Interprofessional Clinical Skills Center. “We offer a safe place for them to practice, make mistakes and improve these skills.”

Between flipped classrooms, a design-thinking program bringing students from a variety of disciplines into one group, a state-of-the-art simulation lab and interactions with standardized patients, UArizona Health Sciences students will be able to enjoy a more well-rounded education that will prepare them to build and lead the future of health care.

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences

The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. The UArizona Health Sciences includes the UArizona Colleges of Medicine (Tucson and Phoenix), Nursing, Pharmacy, and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the growing Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, the UArizona Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona and the greater Southwest to provide cutting-edge health education, research, patient care and community outreach services. A major economic engine, the UArizona Health Sciences employs nearly 5,000 people, has approximately 900 faculty members and garners $200 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram)

Release Date: 
10/31/2019 - 2:51am
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