THE FIRST INHABITANTS
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Physician assistant students the first to take advantage of new state-of-the-art facility
BY BILLY LIGGETT, PHOTOS BY BILL PARISH
The giant, red-bricked 96,500-square-foot medical school facility looming along U.S. 421 near Lillington welcomed Campbell University’s first class of osteopathic medical school students in early August.
But those students weren’t the first to enjoy the facility’s state-of-the-art offerings.
Since May, Campbell’s physician assistant students have been breaking in the equipment and warming the seats at the Leon Levine Hall of Medical Sciences, which features high-tech labs, a floor designed to look and feel like a hospital and an impressive fourth-floor anatomy lab.
The building — located less than half a mile from Campbell’s main campus in Buies Creek — definitely sticks out on a stretch of highway in central Harnett County that otherwise features mostly untouched farmland, trees and the occasional home or small business. For students like Stephen Pacini, a first-year PA student from Colorado, it’s a giant, untouched medical wonderland just waiting to be explored.
“Before this, we were in 40-capacity classrooms [in Campbell’s Carrie Rich Hall, located on the main campus] with 40 total students, so it was a little tight,” said Pacini. “We had to travel to WakeMed in Raleigh to work in an ICU setting or to be in the SIM labs. But now we have it all here. We’re happy about that.”
He and his classmates have likened the new facility to a teaching hospital.
And while the School of Osteopathic Medicine — which will welcome a class of 162 students in less than a month — is brand new, Campbell’s PA program is fairly new as well. The program launched in August 2011 with a class of 34 students, all of whom made it to the Year 2 rotation phase, when they work outside of the classroom in hospitals and clinics throughout the region. This second class will finish out their classroom work in the new facility this summer, then begin their rotations this fall, just in time for Campbell to welcome its third class of PA students.
The PA program is a 27-month adventure, and Campbell’s first class is due to graduate this December.
With the PA students and its first class of medical school students, approximately 200 future physicians and physician assistants will call the new learning facility “home” this fall. That number will jump to about 350 in 2014 when the second class of med school students climb aboard.
Campbell’s goal — with an already established pharmacy school and new physical therapy and nursing programs possibly on the horizon — is for the Levine Hall of Medical Sciences to become a mecca for interprofessional medicine, where students from different programs will work together toward a common goal of reaching the medically underserved statewide and beyond.
“It’s very important that we work together as a team,” said College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences Dean and Vice President of Health Programs Dr. Ronald Maddox. “Really, that’s what this building and these programs are all about — helping people. One of the things [Campbell President] Dr. [Jerry] Wallace and I talked about continuously during this process is how Campbell can fulfill its mission of helping others. There’s a huge number of people out there who need our care.”