The perfect fit
Architects design new building around curriculum.
Joseph Fantone, MD, was appointed senior associate dean for educational affairs at the UF College of Medicine in 2010 — in part for his work at the University of Michigan, where he led a successful medical school accreditation process while simultaneously implementing a new medical education curriculum.
That experience would prove valuable, as Fantone spent the next five years overhauling UF’s medical education curriculum, implementing it and helping architects design a building to effectively support it.
“From the moment he arrived, Dr. Fantone began instituting a collaborative, comprehensive process to modernize our medical school curriculum and institute a more patient-focused education program, and it has launched us into a new era,” said Michael L. Good, MD, dean of the UF College of Medicine. “We’ve always been the top destination for the best students in state and perhaps the Southeast. But with our new curriculum, the new facility and this new era in medical education, we’re going to become the medical school destination for the top students from throughout the entire country.”
Fantone worked closely with faculty and students as well as architects from Ballinger and Heery International to ensure all details in the George T. Harrell, MD, Medical Education Building aligned with the key elements of the new curriculum. Areas throughout the facility promote learning through a collaborative and team-based approach — including classrooms with flexible space for large and small groups, lounges that promote interaction and collaboration and quiet study rooms for independent learning.
An expanded clinical skills area and a new one-of-its-kind simulation facility provide opportunities for experiential learning and assessments that are integral to patient safety and quality programs within UF Health and the Health Science Center colleges.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with how the building came together. I’m especially pleased to see the student-to-student and the faculty-to-student interactions that are occurring,” Fantone said. “You can feel the energy within the building and immediately notice that spaces designed to promote collaboration and interaction are doing just that.
“This all wouldn’t have happened without hard work from so many people, and it was certainly worth the effort when you see the building finally in use.”