University to build state-of-the art facility for health education

Healthy Times, Fall 2003

Photo (top right): The Heritage Reception Hall will celebrate the College’s history and highlight the contributions of alumni, faculty and administrators

Photo (bottom right): A two-story atrium will showcase stained glass windows brought over from the Mercy Chapel on the Outer Drive Campus.



Talk about making a grand entrance.

When the University of Detroit Mercy’s College of Health Professions relocates to the McNichols Campus from the Outer Drive Campus next summer, its new home will be a state-of-the-art facility for health care education. The $4.5 million project is a first step in creating a center for the health sciences at the University.

The new facility, which will be added onto a renovated Lansing-Reilly Hall, will provide the College with 48,480 square feet for classrooms, laboratories, offices and more.

“It’s going to be an exceptional facility, one that will have tremendous benefits for our students, the University and the community,” says Dean Suzanne Mellon.

The building will feature high-tech classrooms and laboratories, including a number of simulation laboratories, which have become integral to quality health care education.

"Health care graduates don’t get on-the-job training. They’re providing care to patients from the moment they’re hired,” notes Mellon. “Simulation labs allow students to practice their skills in settings that closely resemble those they’ll encounter at work.”

The labs will be critical to the Physician Assistant curriculum, according to Sharon Moser, Physician Assistant instructor and academic coordinator.

“The simulation labs are so important. They’re used in so many areas now, like pulmonary, endocrinology and wound care,” she says. “Without these labs, students have to wait until their clinicals to get this type of experience.”

The new building also will include spaces inspired by the Sisters of Mercy, one of the College’s founders. A sweeping two-story atrium will showcase stained glass windows brought over from the Mercy Chapel on the Outer Drive Campus. An adjacent Heritage Reception Hall will celebrate the College’s history and accomplishments, highlighting the contributions of alumni, faculty and administrators.

“The Heritage Hall will help us continue to tell the story of Mercy foundress Catherine McAuley; Francis Warde, who brought the Sisters of Mercy to the U.S.; and Mother Carmelita Manning, who bought the Outer Drive property in 1940 and had Mercy College up and running by 1941. We need to keep telling that story,” says Mary Kelly, R.S.M., Health Services Administration chair.

Drawing from the charisms of the Sisters of Mercy, a nearby Reflection Room will offer students and visitors a quiet space for private reflection and prayer. This area will house artifacts from the Mercy Chapel and will include the University Ministry Office for the College of Health Professions.

“The Reflection Room is important in a college of health professions, because what we do is an extension of the healing power of God,” explains Kelly. “The concept of Mercy has two components: the sense of feeling for those who are suffering and then the response of doing something to alleviate the suffering. We grow in Mercy by reflecting on it, developing sensitivity to God’s children. Education and practice is how we respond.”

The decision to relocate the College of Health Professions was part of the University’s long-range strategic plan. Moving the College will make better use of University resources, provide more opportunities for interdisciplinary exchange, and allow health professions students to participate in a more vibrant college life.

“It’s going to be a positive move in so many ways,” says Beth Anctil, assistant professor, Health Systems Management. “Campus life will be richer for our students.”

Moser expects her students will enjoy being part of the lively McNichols Campus.

“Our students tend to be very outgoing, active and involved,” she says. “They’re really going to benefit from being part of the activities at McNichols.”

Michael Dosch, Nurse Anesthesia director and chair, says the move will be good for his students.

“Being in a new building is exciting. We’ll be closer to IT, the library, and other colleges. Our students and faculty will be better connected to University life,” he says.

Faculty members say they’re looking forward to working more closely with their colleagues in the other colleges.

"We’re really excited about working with genetics, chemistry, biology and the other pure sciences,” says Moser.

“We’ve had little chance to know our peers on the McNichols Campus,” adds Kelly. “Sometimes the ideas for your best collaborations happen over lunch or after bumping into someone at the library. Now we’ll have the opportunity for that.”