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The first health sciences building is scheduled to open on the STAR Campus in February 2014.

STAR questions, answers

Dean Matt discusses opening of STAR Campus Health Sciences Complex

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12:39 p.m., Oct. 7, 2013--Those who have driven by the University of Delaware’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus lately might have some questions, wondering what’s going on with all of the construction equipment and curious about what’s behind the new glass walls.

Kathleen Matt, dean of the University’s College of Health Sciences, recently took a few minutes to answer some questions about what will happen when the first health sciences building opens on the STAR Campus in February 2014.

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Q. Who will move to the STAR Campus during the first phase?

A. Among the first groups to move will be our Nurse Managed Health Center and our Physical Therapy Clinic

The NMHC will deliver primary care tagged to health and wellness through a team of professionals, creating a signature for interprofessional health care delivery.  At STAR, the NMHC will occupy a site that’s almost 10 times larger than the current space in McDowell Hall, enabling the clinic to greatly expand its diagnostic and treatment capabilities.

Because the PT Clinic and our academic doctor of physical therapy [DPT] program are so integrally linked, the department and the clinic will move together in early 2014. Currently ranked second in the nation, our DPT program is a model for interconnected clinical, research, and academic activities: Members of the community participate in cutting-edge, patient-centered research conducted by our expert faculty and top-notch graduate students, and the results of that research are fed back into clinical practice as well as into our academic curricula. The STAR Campus will enable us to double the number of students in our DPT program so that we can become even more responsive to needs in the community.  

The first building will also house core labs for use by teams of clinical and academic researchers. These shared spaces will encourage basic scientists, clinicians, physician scholars, and students to work together conducting interdisciplinary and translational research that changes people’s lives.

Other occupants of the first building will include the BADER Consortium, which focuses on rehabilitation of wounded warriors; the Delaware Rehabilitation Institute, which brings together clinicians, scientists, engineers, and policy-makers to improve the state of the art in rehabilitation medicine; and GoBabyGo, which is aimed at increasing cognitive, social, and emotional development in infants and young children with disabilities through movement.

Q. How will the STAR Campus affect health sciences education?

A. When I talked about the Nurse Managed Health Center a minute ago, I said that it would deliver care through a team of health professionals. And if that’s how we’re going to provide care, it’s critical that we train students in the same way. Effective health care can be delivered only if team members work together to treat disease and injury — and, more importantly, to promote health and wellness — and there is no more effective way to achieve this goal than to educate students in an interprofessional environment.

Our goal is to provide our students with as many rich opportunities for learning as possible, so that as they exit our programs, they’re equipped to “hit the ground running” when they move into the workforce.

Q. What does the future of healthcare look like to you?

A. We face tremendous challenges in this arena, challenges that will require bringing the right people to the table to identify problems, design solutions, and implement and solutions. The ultimate goal has to be better health outcomes at lower cost. We have to find ways to keep the people of Delaware healthier and safer, so that we spend less on chronic illness and catastrophic injury. This means putting people in control of their own health and creating communities to foster a healthy lifestyle. No sector or discipline will have all the answers to this problem, but I think the environment we create at STAR will foster the kind of collaboration that will move us in the right direction.

Also, in the past few years, we’ve put tremendous resources into determining how to pay for health care and who should pay for it — to the point where the term “health care” has become almost synonymous with “health insurance.” When we talk about health care, we should really be talking about the kinds of care that will keep people healthy, not about the kinds of funding that will pay for treatment of lifestyle-induced chronic illnesses.

Q. How will the STAR Campus facilitate partnerships?

A. One of the clear advantages on the STAR Campus is the way the first building is being structured, with a University side for our education, research, and clinical programs and a tenant side for businesses and organizations that will complement our mission — for example, a radiology lab, a behavioral health center, or a pharmacy.  This set-up will create opportunities for collaborative research, offer a convenient “one-stop shopping” experience for clients, and allow our students to learn under the tutelage of not only our faculty but also our partners in the private sector.

We also hope to expand our outreach into the community by inviting medically related nonprofits, student clubs and organizations, and support groups to locate on the STAR Campus.

Finally, our core research facilities will promote collaborative research with our clinical partners, which I think is critical.  If our research is to have maximum impact, we can’t work in isolation and we can’t live in silos. As health sciences research and training become increasingly complex, the need for costly high-tech research equipment grows.  Core research labs on the STAR Campus will not only help to contain costs through resource sharing but also foster collaboration.

Q. Can you sum up in one sentence what most excites you about the CHS presence on the STAR Campus?

A. The new health sciences building is unique in the way it integrates the community and our partners with our learning environment — it’s about creating a place of discovery where we co-invent with our partners the solutions to real-world problems.

Join us at the College of Health Science Homecoming Tailgate tent on Saturday, Oct. 12, to see a longer video and learn more about development of the Health Sciences Complex on the STAR Campus. Registration and ticket information are available at this website.

To learn more, visit the STAR Campus website.

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