Student visit takes new Florida International University medical school closer to partnership
By Meena Rupani
Exploring a possible partnership with Florida International University's College of Medicine, Miami's Anatomical Research Center invited four students from the school to observe lectures and procedures, says Serge Kozacki, the center's lab director.
The center, which opened in November 2008, is the world's largest cadaver facility. No live patients are worked on there.
Its main goal is to focus on medical education and training conducts procedures in all areas of medicine, from orthopedic to plastic surgery.
Dr. Kozacki recently met with Dean John Rock of FIU's College of Medicine to discuss a partnership.
"I would say our last talk with the university was within the last 60 days," Dr. Kozacki said. "The medical school just opened a month or so ago, so we are planning to use this semester as a trial run for the students and explore an official partnership next semester."
"The MARC has been very gracious is letting our students come in and view the procedures as well as receive more hands-on training," Dr. Rock said. "Although we do not have an official affiliation with them yet, we hope to have one in the near future."
In the late September visit, "students came by to observe training and an abdominal hernia repair procedure in addition to viewing procedures dealing with the digestive track," Dr. Kozacki said. "Students also spent ample time learning the clinical applications used during the procedures.
"Of course, we also planned for some downtime for the students where they could further tour the facility."
With 22,231 square feet, the center on Northwest 20th street in Doral is comprised of 38 working stations, four operating rooms, an auditorium to fit 125, two board rooms, five washrooms, a lobby area and men's and women's locker rooms equipped with protective medical gear.
Heloise Ribas Peixoto, the center's office manager, has said a partnership would benefit both parties. Students would be able to watch procedures in the operating rooms from the auditorium, she said. Each operating room has a large-screen television with a camera that would connect to the auditorium.
"The school is only 20 blocks away from us. It wouldn't make sense for them to build their own lab when all the equipment and technology the students will need for procedures is already at our center." Ms. Peixoto said.
The next steps, Dr. Kozacki says "will be to invite more students to the center and get feedback from them. They could say the procedures they do in their anatomy lab is enough and don't think doing procedures here at the center is needed, or vice versa."
According to Dr. Kozacki, medical schools usually have four cadavers per 40 students, but at the center students would have an unlimited number.
"Once the partnership is official, students will be able to come in and receive hands-on training from a multitude of areas, such as sports medicine, general surgery, etc.," he said. "We are in multi-disciplinary facility."
Baptist Health is also a possible partnership the center is continuing to explore.
According to both Ms. Peixoto and Dr. Kozacki, doctors could come to center to renew their continuing medical certification.
Dr. Kozacki also noted doctors from FIU's medical school could renew their certification at the center if a partnership becomes official.
"We have great specimens for hands-on training. The specimens… are fresh, not frozen, so the students will get the same feeling from them as they would from a live patient," he said.
"The opportunities are endless for the students if the partnership comes to fruition."