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Medical school advances after building provided
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Board members for the Integrative Centers for Science and Medicine (from left) Dr. Scott Obenshain, Mary Rives Brown and Dr. Noel Boaz, who also is board president, stand Monday with Virginia and Dr. Mervyn King, who are providing the building shown behind them to be used as a medical school. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer

A building in uptown Martinsville was provided Monday to the Integrative Centers for Science and Medicine to launch a medical school in the area.

Dr. Mervyn King will provide ICSM with a five-year lease of the 10,000-square-foot building for the medical school, according to information provided by Noel Boaz, who founded the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville and is president of ICSM in Martinsville.

At the end of five years, King said he likely will give ICSM the building, which is at 62 Fayette St. on the corner of Fayette and Moss streets, diagonally adjacent to the Baldwin Block.

The medical college would become one of ICSM’s five centers called the College of Henricopolis School of Medicine.

“The future of Martinsville and Henry County is education,” Boaz said.

The terms of King’s offer are yearly payments of $1 per square foot or $10,000 for each of five years and five years of successful operation as a medical facility, according to information provided by Boaz. Income from programs will help ICSM meet that obligation, Boaz said.

Now that a building has been provided, ICSM has launched the Shackelford Campaign to raise $1 million to initiate programs, a lecture series and other efforts.

The terms of the offer, with King retaining ownership of the building for five years while funds are raised to renovate it and begin programs, give King some insurance that ICSM will not take the building, sell it and leave, Boaz said, adding that he has “no doubts we will succeed.”

King said he was inspired to give the building because he feels that it is another step in revitalizing Martinsville. He currently rents buildings to the New College Institute.

The building formerly housed George’s Supermarket and Winn-Dixie, Boaz said. He added that the building “points us in the right direction,” and the hopes are for the medical school to become a reality and get bigger.

The building would be designed in sections for education, clinical service and research. The middle portion would be for education, including high-tech equipment to stream video; the left side would be for clinicals (training in real-world medical settings); and the right side would consist of research labs, according to Boaz.

The building contains high ceilings and no columns, which is perfect for classrooms so that students’ views will not be obstructed, King said.

The building will be a start-up site for the medical school, not the entire school, Boaz said. The hopes are to expand into a campus, he added.

“It’s very exciting” to be moving forward with the medical school plans because a medical school “is what we (ICSM) are doing for economic development,” Boaz said.

So far, $30,000 has been raised in payments and pledges for the Shackelford Campaign, Boaz said.

To be considered a donor to the campaign, a person only has to donate $1, Boaz added.

If donations come in rapidly, construction could start within the next one or two months, he said. If construction starts soon, it could be done by winter, he added.

The Shackelford Campaign is named for two iconic physicians, Dr. Jesse Shackelford and his son, Dr. John Shackelford, who ushered in the era of modern medicine in Southside Virginia in the 1890s, according to information from Boaz. They created the Shackelford Hospital in Martinsville, which fostered new practices in medicine regionally and statewide, the information added.

The Shackelford Hospital was built here by local efforts.

“It was done in the past, and it can be done again,” Boaz said. “It’s not an effort of the elite; it’s a community effort.”

The Shackelford Campaign includes $250,000 in programming costs for the Drs. Shackelford exhibit at the Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center and Museum, which opened on June 16; initiating medical education programs; launching the Shackelford Lectures Series; and carrying out an architectural and engineering study of the new medical school’s future campus, according to the information.

The beginning of the lecture series is not known at this time. It is envisioned to include discussions of health-related themes that will promote messages of preventive, patient-focused, informed, inter-ethic and primary health care, the information said.

Part of the Shackelford Fund will be set aside to begin an endowment. The second and larger part of the campaign will be raising a renovation fund of $750,000, the information said.

The renovation fund would cover the cost of removing old equipment, restoring and remodeling the exterior, and installing heating and cooling systems, toilets, an auditorium, classrooms, offices and labs, the information said.

Synergy with local developers and the city of Martinsville, stimulating economic development and a small grant available for façade improvements in the central business district will contribute to meeting the challenge, the information said.

The process for the school to become accredited has begun with the program outlines and curriculum being planned. The curriculum is planned in four tiers to cover lessons for kindergartners to post-graduate students, Boaz said.

State accreditation can be received within three months once the program schedules are set and the building plans are finalized, Boaz said. After state accreditation, the school also would have to be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities and the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), he added.

An example of a Tier One Program (kindergarten through 12th grade) would include each student receiving a stethoscope and green scrubs to wear. The modules would include learning about the normal sounds the body makes and how to listen to them through a stethoscope, hearing for problem sounds such as heart murmurs, and listening for changes in the lungs due to smoking, the information said.

An example of a Tier Two Program (college/university) would be a curriculum based on the first two years of professional education and incorporate a cross-cultural educational approach. The curriculum will be innovative and organized around the principles of “evolutionary/integrative medicine.”

In Tier Three, the curriculum would be hierarchical, starting at simple organic and structural levels and proceeding to complex levels.

In Tier Four (postgraduate/continuing medical education), an example of a course would be “Clinical Anatomy of the Hand and Wrist.” The clinical skills included in such a course would be assessment of the carpal tunnel, arthritic changes in the hand, neurological deficits and anesthesia of the hand, the information said.


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