star-trek-holodeck.jpgThe University of California at San Francisco today opened a simulation learning center that school officials say is one of the first of its kind in the nation.

The Teaching and Learning Center, located on the second floor of the UCSF library on its Parnassus campus, will serve 2,500 students in the school’s dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy programs, all of which rank among the top four nationwide in their fields.

The 22,000-square-foot center will feature 12 high-tech classrooms and clinical exam rooms and 10 full-body mannequin simulators. There are already 88 simulations planned for this year, according to university officials.

The mannequins are similar to those used in CPR training, except they are much more high-tech, UCSF spokeswoman Kristen Bole said.

“They’re a much higher level,” Bole said. “A team of ER students can train on triaging patients, listen to their heartbeat, and practice giving injections.”

The center will also feature telemedicine facilities that can offer medical care over a webcam to patients in underserved urban communities that might not normally have access to UCSF’s programs, Bole said.

The center will work to foster collaboration and innovation among the various health professions to improve patient care.

“What’s so unusual about UCSF is that we have four top-notch health professional schools and a physical therapy program located on this small campus in a very concentrated way,” Kevin Souza, the school’s assistant dean for medical education, said in a statement.

“Our schools have always worked together, but now we have a way to focus that training and have such a great opportunity to take advantage of what we all do really well,” Souza said.

The center is funded with $15.5 million from the state, as well as philanthropic support.

The center, located at 530 Parnassus Ave., opened at 10 a.m. and a noon dedication ceremony was planned.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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