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Opinion: Charleston Area Medical Center is at the center of medical education

By David L. Ramsey

President and CEO of Vandalia Health

When you come to a hospital in central or southern West Virginia, your providers may include doctors, nurses, radiology techs, ultrasound technicians, pharmacists, phlebotomists and other health care professionals. Many of these folks received their clinical training at CAMC.

Each year we have about 180 physicians finishing their subspecialty training and around 160 third- and fourth-year medical students finishing their clinical training at CAMC.

CAMC has been a teaching hospital for more than 50 years, with relationships with two medical schools West Virginia University School of Medicine and West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine as well as many clinical affiliations with schools throughout the region.

CAMC’s latest investment in clinical education is the opening of the Center for Learning and Research. The 56,000-square-foot facility features the latest high-tech education and state-of-the-art simulation rooms that mimic health care environments in the most realistic environment possible with cutting-edge electronic mannequins and virtual reality training.

This innovative Center wouldn’t be possible without generous community support. More than $6 million donated towards the project. And we are thankful for Senator Shelley Moore Capito’s support and vision of medical education. The local fundraising and Sen. Capito’s efforts to secure federal monies is a recognition of how important this facility is to our community.

This Center enhances the training of the nearly 1,000 learners that walk the halls of the hospital daily. It is preparing them to provide quality care to you, me, our family members, and friends.

By the time they begin taking care of patients, physicians and other learners will have had hours of simulated patient care in our simulation center. Many also will have worked with our research staff at CAMC’s Institute of Academic Medicine as they pursue their medical career.

CAMC, as the center of medical learning in our region, strives to “grow our own” by training and then retaining clinical professionals in our community. Without the training received at CAMC, many health care professionals may not exist in our region.

Yes, CAMC is an outstanding hospital, but it is more than that. I am excited about the future of medical education in our community and what it means for everyone in central and southern West Virginia.