Game Changer:

Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation could transform medical education, improve patient care

Aspects Volume 38 No. 2

The back end of an ambulance protrudes from the wall of a third-story room in the new Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation (MCLI). Across the hall, one room looks like someone’s home and another is intended to be an emergency department treatment room. Soon, SIU medical students and residents will have access to MCLI’s comprehensive patient simulation areas, which include state-of-the art replicas of a patient care room, emergency trauma bay, an emergency treatment room, an operating room, an ambulance and a patient home. The simulation space will also include an ICU treatment room that serves double duty as a labor and delivery suite.

The MCLI is a result of Memorial Medical Center’s partnership with SIU School of Medicine. A project three years in the making, it is a center devoted to the enhancement of learning, innovation and professional development for the medical school’s students, residents, faculty and staff and Memorial Medical Center’s health care providers. The MCLI will contain much more than simulation spaces, including a conference center that seats 350, meeting spaces and a business center, a café and a newly-built parking garage.

"This has the potential to be a game-changer to transform medical education and improve patient care," says Christopher McDowell, MD, MEd, assistant professor and emergency medicine residency program director at SIU School of Medicine and medical director of the MCLI.

"The MCLI showcases Memorial’s commitment to education, collaboration, innovation and continuous improvement, as well as our commitment to strengthening relationships with our health care partners," says Aimee Allbritton, PhD, FACHE, vice president of Organization Development and chief learning officer for Memorial Health System. "With a focus on learner-centered environments, we will be able to improve the educational experience for our learners and, in turn, improve their ability to apply and retain the information and improve the outcomes for our patients and customers."

Several SIU School of Medicine offices will be housed in this four-story, 72,000-square-foot facility, including the School of Medicine’s Surgical Skills Lab. The skills lab was first established in 2000, one of the first accredited labs of its kind in the nation. The new space, which is nearly four times the size of the current skills lab, will be directed by Sapan Desai, MD, PhD, MBA, assistant professor of vascular surgery and vice chair of research for surgery. It will allow for expansion of the interactive and virtual reality training modules. Simulated wet labs and dry labs will also be available.

MCLI’s innovation and technology classrooms for professThe MCLI features spaces for simulation from home to hospital including an ambulance, as seen here in the construction phase.ional development, along with collaboration spaces and a medical library, will be open to the medical school faculty, staff, residents and students. Additionally, SIU’s Office of Professional Development, formerly the Office of Continuing Medical Education, will reside at MCLI. This department, under the direction of Stacy Sattovia, MD, associate professor of internal medicine, will develop medical education conferences and explore new methods of maintaining certification for practicing physicians. SIU School of Medicine staff representing the Midwest Healthcare Quality Alliance, a collaborative group that is developing solutions to improve health-care quality, safety and access, will also maintain offices at MCLI.

"It’s SIU’s heritage to be a pioneer in medical education," Dr. McDowell says. "This partnership, which has created a state-of-the-art facility and resources to educate medical students, residents and alumni, will continue to strengthen SIU’s role of providing superior medical education and quality patient care." At press time, the MCLI was days away from opening. See the next aspects for an inside look.

Left Image Caption: The MCLI features spaces for simulation from home to hospital including an ambulance, as seen here in the construction phase.

Visit the MCLI website at

Visitors will soon be able to see the completed version of these plans for the MCLI.


Visitors will soon be able to see the completed version of these plans for the MCLI.