Mary Baldwin College is feverishly putting the finishing touches on the new Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences building near Augusta Health. The building will house the college’s first doctoral programs, including physical therapy, occupational therapy and physician assistant.
The college is taking a unique approach to the medical school by integrating the students from all three programs.
“Our philosophy is to create our curriculum so that students are in a professional nature and that they mirror the way healthcare services are today,” Dr. Linda Seestedt-Standford, vice president of Health Sciences, said. “We’ve created a curriculum where our students will not only have classes together but they will come together in projects, research and community service.”
By bringing the classes together, the college hopes to help the students from different programs better understand one another. Seestedt-Stanford said the students will “talk to each other about how they approach the patient differently, so they can understand each other’s philosophies and theories.”
“Part of the focus here is interdepartmental education and how it will benefit the patient,” she added.
With huge glass windows and an expansive central atrium, the college wanted as much natural light as possible to fall on studying students. The building was made from Jerusalem stone, brick, wood and other natural elements in the hopes of generating a creative atmosphere. The yellow bricks were chosen to match the main campus of Mary Baldwin.
“Everything that has been done in the building was done with purpose and lots of discussion,” Seestedt-Stanford said.
The classrooms include state of the art technology, including large television screens, cameras, lights and a sound system. The human anatomy classroom laboratory features a virtual anatomy practice lab and a practical lab featuring skeleton models and operating tables. The building also features several simulation labs where students will have the opportunity to respond to medical emergencies using programmable mannequins. Completed in teams, the students will be critiqued based on their handling of the situation and working together to save the “patient.”
The college has an affiliation with over 70 health facilities and is located right next to Augusta Health. With such a close proximity to a hospital, the students will be able to experience real medical situations and have access to professional nurses and physicians in their field of study.
Seestedt-Standford praised the building’s location and said the college is “ in the medical corridor of Augusta County.”
Workers from Kjellstrom and Lee Construction of Staunton will work tirelessly to complete the building by Sunday, when students and their families see the school for the first time. The college will host a barbeque to welcome the new medical students and classes will start on Monday.