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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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Med school funds are up

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer

Since launching the Shackelford Campaign to build a medical school in the area, $104,000 has been collected in donations as of last week, according to Noel Boaz, president of Integrative Centers for Science and Medicine (ICSM) in Martinsville.

A building in uptown Martinsville was provided in July to the ICSM to launch a medical school in the area. Once a building was provided, ICSM launched the Shackelford Campaign to raise $1 million to initiate programs, a lecture series and other efforts.

The 10,000-square-foot building provided by Dr. Mervyn King is located 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.

“We’re on track,” Boaz said. “We’re moving well,”

So far, there have been six gold donors from the Shackelford family and five gold donors from the community. Gold donors are those who have given $1,000 and above to the campaign, he said.

“That really says a lot about this community ... shows a lot of confidence in the plans,” said Boaz, who founded the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville.

To be considered a donor to the campaign, a person only has to donate $1, he said. ICSM is seeking federal money to help push the project forward.

ICSM has submitted a proposal to the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development in which they propose building the college to be classified as a LEED building (leadership in energy efficiency development). ICSM would like to install solar panels on the roof of the building which will produce enough power to run the building with some power going unused. If the building produces more power than it’s using, the remaining power will be sold to the city, which will go into the city’s power grid for the use of area residents, he said.

The proposal will be reviewed, but so far, representatives of the department of housing and community development have been positive and receptive to the idea, Boaz said. If approved, ICSM will get $100,000 in federal urban renewal funds, which are administered by the state. ICSM should know next month if the proposal was approved, Boaz said.

ICSM is looking to raise $750,000 for the renovation funds and $250,000 for the development of four tiers of educational programs to cover lessons for kindergartners to post-graduate students, he said.

In addition, ICSM is planning to submit a proposal to the Bureau of Indian Education in hopes of receiving federal funds for tier two programs (college/university). The budget has yet to be finalized for the medical school. Once it is finalized, ICSM will know how much to ask for. Representatives of the bureau have showed willingness to contribute funding, Boaz said.

To generate more funding, the ICSM board plans to start contacting potential donors in the community and more Shackelford family members to ask if they would like to contribute, he added.

So far, enough money has been collected to start planning programs, he said.

A tier three program is planned to begin next summer for anatomy students. It would be a course in which students will learn a new technique in embalming, which uses salt compounds and only a small amount of formaldehyde, he said. The demonstrations are part of a cooperative program with the Virginia Department of Health and the chief medical examiner’s office in Richmond, he added.

For tier four programs, Boaz hopes to work with local hospitals and practices and have groups of surgeons from around the country come to the area to participate in anatomy demonstrations, he said. That program could begin as soon as possible once the appropriate contacts with hospitals and practices have been made, he added.

In fall 2013, Boaz plans to start an eight-month course as part of tier two programs for college students. The course would act as a pre-medical institute in which students who do not have a bachelor’s degree in medicine can take all their basic science courses in order to apply to medical school, he said.

The tier one programs (kindergarten through 12th grade) do not have a timetable set. ICSM is still in talks with local school systems to figure out the most appropriate curriculum for the programs, he said.

If the medical school renovations have not been completed by next summer when programs are planned to start, courses could be held in either the New College Institute’s science lab on Fayette Street or a space in the West Piedmont Business Development Center on East Church Street, Boaz said.

ICSM is still working on the paperwork to submit to the state to get the medical school accredited; Boaz hopes the process will be completed by end of the year, he said.

Boaz hopes to collaborate with area organizations who have other medical projects planned, including NCI and the Phoenix Community Development Corporation, he said.

NCI is planning to construct a high-tech educational building on the Baldwin Block which will include a “next generation” health care program to train people to use the most up-to-date health care technology, such as remote equipment that monitors patients after they leave a hospital in hopes of preventing a return visit.

Phoenix Community Development Corporation is planning to develop a health connect center possibly on Fayette Street. Since Boaz plans to have a clinic in the medical school building, the health connect center could be a good collaboration; the center would get patients into the system and then have the patients referred to the clinic at the medical school to receive care, he said.

NCI has already been willing to collaborate by offering classroom space and also he feels that NCI’s healthcare program would “add to, in a major way, to what we’re doing,” he said.

In NCI’s program, students will learn the technical aspects of healthcare while the medical school will teach the scientific educational aspects, he said.

“It’s all collaborative” and complimentary, Boaz said.

With such a wide range of medical education being offered uptown, “it really will transform” that area of the city, he said.

 

 
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