FAYETTEVILLE – Cape Fear Valley Health hosted a ribbon cutting and grand opening event Friday morning for the new Center for Medical Education and Neuroscience Institute. About 300 people attended the opening remarks, which were followed by facility tours and Simulation Center demonstrations throughout the morning.
“In this facility, Cape Fear Valley Health is going to cultivate a new generation of physicians to transform the landscape of healthcare in southeastern North Carolina,” said Cape Fear Valley Health CEO Michael Nagowski. “Our country is facing a serious physician shortage, with a quarter of our region’s rural communities lacking doctors in many critical specialties. The Center for Medical Education and Neuroscience Institute will build our capacity to serve more patients, address physician shortages, and ensure that we can continue to provide exceptional care to all our patients.”
Studies show that 50 percent of physicians typically go into practice within 50 miles of the location where they complete their residency, a figure that was mirrored in the first graduating class of residents at Cape Fear Valley last year. Studies also show that health outcomes are higher in the areas surrounding a teaching hospital. As well as improving local health outcomes, the growing residency program is expected to add more than 900 new jobs and generate nearly $580 million in economic impact in the region over the next ten years.
“People have asked me repeatedly about this facility, and about the physician residencies and it really boils down to three areas,” Nagowski said. “First and foremost, the workforce shortage among doctors, nationally, but very specifically in southeastern North Carolina. This program is specifically designed to help resolve that situation.” Nagowski said the other two important components of the residency program are its value as an economic generator and the impact it will have on improved health outcomes.
Cape Fear Valley, in partnership with Campbell University’s Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine, launched its first post-graduate residency program in 2017 with a mission to recruit and retain new doctors who would continue to practice in this region. Since then, the program has grown to include seven more residency programs and two fellowships at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. There are now 274 residents currently in the health system, as well as 130 medical students. The new facility will house these residency programs and more as the programs continue to grow.
Dr. Brian Kessler is Dean and Chief Academic Officer of the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine at Campbell University.
“I really am happy that we have the opportunity to be here today, this is just a special event,” Kessler said. “All of us from Buies Creek really think this is a great thing that’s happening here in Fayetteville. We could not be more proud of this new state-of-the-art Center for Medical Education and Neuroscience Institution. And I’m proud that Campbell University and the state of North Carolina are the largest benefactors of this world-class facility. It’s here that the next generation of well-trained physicians and specialists will be able to serve this area, Cumberland County and throughout the surrounding region.”
The new five-story, 120,000-square-foot building is located on the campus of Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, at the corner of Owen Drive and Melrose Road. Highlights of the facility include an auditorium with seating for 500; a food court; faculty offices and classrooms; a state-of-the-art Simulation Center to provide medical residents hands-on training in surgery, emergency/trauma treatment, labor and delivery, and intensive care; and the new home of Cape Fear Valley’s Neuroscience Institute, which includes physician offices, exam rooms, nurses’ stations and patient waiting area. This Neuroscience Institute, which is located on the fifth floor, will be utilized for both Neurology and Neurosurgery physicians to provide care.
The Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation raised $7.85 million in funding for the construction with its Caring for the Future Campaign, which was the most ambitious fundraising effort undertaken by the foundation in its 26-year history. Funds raised will also provide ongoing support for the residency program and its continued growth, as well as the educational activities and patient care that will take place within the new facility. In addition to the generosity of these donors and their philanthropic gifts, supplemental funding was provided by the State of North Carolina and educational partner Campbell University to complete the $33 million building project.
During the three-year campaign, more than 500 donors throughout North Carolina and beyond contributed to the project. Major donors include Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation and its Board of Directors; the Duke Endowment; the Thomas R. and Elizabeth E. McLean Foundation; the Cape Fear Valley Volunteer Auxiliary; Ann and Tony Cimaglia; Charlene and Jay Wyatt; the Armstrong, Riddle and Williams Family; the Golden LEAF Foundation; Anonymous Trust; the Cape Fear Valley Health Executive and Vice President Leaders; Dr. Wes Jones and Mrs. Lucy Turk Hollis Jones; the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust; Dr. David A. and Jenna Abbes Schutzer; and Systel Business Equipment.