Construction of an unprecedented health-education campus at Cleveland Clinic will prepare students to lead in this new era of healthcare.

An artist’s rendering of the interior courtyard. This building will become the Lerner College of Medicine’s new home.

>> Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner College of Medicine was founded on a radically different model of training future doctors.

“Our approach was controversial because we weren’t going to be teaching students in the traditional way of giving textbooks to memorize and lectures to sit through. It was going to focus on teamwork, group learning and a problem-based learning system,” says James B. Young, MD, Executive Dean of the medical college and holder of the George M. and Linda H. Kaufman Endowed Chair.

With no tests, grades or class ranks, the school launched in 2002 with many eyes in the academic community watching. Since then, the college’s portfolio assessment system, which shows that students have mastered core competencies and skills — rather than memorizing a book or answering a multiple-choice test correctly — has proven successful.

To continue to build on that success, Cleveland Clinic will break ground this fall on a new health education campus — to be shared by Lerner College of Medicine and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Medicine. The 485,000-square-foot building will sit on Cleveland Clinic’s campus and be supported by philanthropy, including lead gifts from the Cleveland Foundation, Medical Mutual of Ohio and Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation. The project, unlike any other in the country, will integrate education of doctors, nurses, physician assistants and dentists in a holistic, "interprofessional" manner.

"Historically, health education has been siloed," says Cleveland Clinic President and CEO Toby Cosgrove, MD. "Medicine is a team sport now."

Training Tomorrow’s Caregivers

>> With the new campus will come a focus on leadership skills, practice management, quality outcomes and value-based medicine — all of which are increasingly critical in an era of healthcare reform.

There won’t be many traditional classrooms “where a professor stands up and gives a lecture that nobody listens to,” says Dr. Young. Classrooms instead will have several interactive screens that can beam in a faculty member from down the road or the other side of the planet, allow students to interact with a simulated or real patient, and access a virtual medical library. Students will make use of technology to its fullest potential — just as they’ll be expected to do in practice.

Students also are specially trained to serve as physician investigators — to treat medical problems and search for new solutions to them in the lab. In fact, the college includes a fifth year of study devoted entirely to research.

Preparing tomorrow’s physician leaders with the skills associated with long-term success demands a combination of innovative teaching, technology and teamwork. It also requires an understanding of both the science of medicine and the humanism in medicine.

There won’t be many traditional classrooms where a professor stands up and gives a lecture that nobody listens to.

“How we take care of patients in regard to compassion and communication has suffered some blows over time,” says Dr. Young, on why the college has integrated topics such as how to better approach and communicate with patients into its curriculum.

Focused on the Future

>> The new health education campus — expected to be complete in 2017 — will bring together two renowned academic tracks to share space, ideas and insights. Both Cleveland Clinic and CWRU believe this partnership will place Cleveland at the forefront of medical education worldwide.

It also will offer future caregivers the ideal setting to prepare for a rapidly changing healthcare landscape, says Dr. Cosgrove.

"We launched this collaboration to prepare students for a healthcare future that's still being imagined," he says. "By combining a state-of-the-art structure, pioneering technology and leading-edge teaching techniques, we'll provide them with the innovative education required to lead in this new era."

Click here to view photos from the Health Education Campus groundbreaking event held Oct. 1, 2015.

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