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Cape Fear Valley Health celebrates “topping off” of Center for Medical Education

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Cape Fear Valley Health CEO Michael Nagowski speaks Thursday at the “topping off” ceremony for the Center for Medical Education at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. Visible in the background is the project’s last steel beam – which was painted white and signed by members of the community at the ceremony – as it is being lifted and prepared to be moved into position.


FAYETTEVILLE – JUNE 18, 2021 – Cape Fear Valley Health celebrated the “topping off” of its new Center for Medical Education Thursday at a brief ceremony before the final steel beam was raised into place. Before the ceremony, health system and community members gathered to sign the beam and hear about the construction project’s progress.

“The new Center for Medical Education will attract hundreds of new doctors to serve our region and ensure that our community always has the care we need, right here where we live and work,” said Tammy Thurman, a member of the Caring for the Future campaign committee. The Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation’s Caring for the Future campaign is raising the final funds needed to complete the $31 million construction.

Cape Fear Valley CEO Michael Nagowski thanked the Foundation’s board for championing the project, and the campaign committee for leading the efforts to secure the project’s funding. When finished, the 5-floor building will have 120,000 square feet of space that will include lecture halls, classrooms and simulation labs to provide residents with hands-on, applied learning with sophisticated technology. The facility will also house the Neuroscience Institute, which will help diagnose, treat, and research disorders such as strokes, brain tumors and traumatic brain injuries.

“We’re building this facility and these programs for our community, because we want to welcome and train a first-class physician workforce who are ready and confident to step out into the world, but who are just as likely to stay right here,” Nagowski said.

Dr. Donald Maharty, Vice President of Medical Education, offered much gratitude to the community and emphasized how the health system’s residency program has grown since it was created in partnership with Campbell University’s Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine in 2017.

“In just three years, our residency program has grown to include over 170 residents training in nine different program areas, as well as 110 medical students,” Maharty said. “Our residencies include obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, emergency medicine, psychiatry, cardiology, general surgery, podiatry, pharmacy and a transitional year. Later in 2022 we hope to obtain approval for our child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship. Simply put, we are bursting at the seams.”

The new Center for Medical Education will provide space to train up to 300 residents onsite each year, nearly doubling the size of the current program. As the program grows, so should the number of new, highly trained doctors choosing to practice in the region. Studies show that 50 percent of physicians go into practice within 50 miles of their residency. Half of Cape Fear Valley’s first classes of residents have already signed on to work in the health system.

Dr. Rakesh Gupta, Vice President of the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation board, made sure to thank the projects most generous donors and partners: Campbell University; the State of North Carolina; the Duke Endowment; the Thomas R. and Elizabeth E. McLean Foundation; the Cape Fear Valley Health Volunteer Auxiliary, Inc.; the Golden LEAF Foundation; The Armstrong, Riddle, and Williams Family; Tom and Anne Keith; Lucy Jones and Dr. Wes Jones; Olde Fayetteville Insurance & Financial Services, Inc.; Valley Auto World and Jay and Charlene Wyatt; and Cape Fear Valley’s Executive Leadership Group, Board of Trustees, faculty members, and the many other employees who have contributed to this project.

“I would also like to thank my fellow Board members, who have designated $1 million from the Foundation to support the building’s construction, and the dedicated volunteers on the Caring for the Future campaign committee for leading our fundraising efforts,” Gupta said. “With these supporters and many more, the Foundation has secured 90 percent of funding needed to complete the Center for Medical Education and Neuroscience Institute.”

To learn more about the Center for Medical Education and the Caring for the Future campaign, please visit

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