New center to serve students and patients

Construction that began August 2007 on the corner of Holly and Magnolia Avenues is nearing a close as USF plans to open a new health center in July.

The Carol and Frank Morsani Center for Advanced Health Care will be the second one-stop health care center the University opens and will offer learning opportunities for students as well as medical services for patients. The first, the South Tampa Center for Advanced Health Care, is located on Davis Island and opened in August 2007.

Rick Green, executive director of the USF Physicians Group and chief operating officer of the Centers for Advanced Health Care, said the Morsani Center is much larger than the South Tampa Center and will serve as an educational tool for the University. The six-floor Morsani Center covers almost 200,000 square feet.

“For our physicians and our medical students, it creates an ideal teaching environment,” Green said. “It’s set up not only for providing excellent clinical care but also for providing an ideal teaching environment.”

Green said medical students will be able to watch live surgeries from the second floor of the building and correspond with the surgeon, even from another floor.

“During our first and second year we’re just working with simulated patients and with the clinical skills center here, so anything that’s more real-life interactive is definitely an improvement,” said Jane Mai, a second-year medical student. “And that kind of opportunity, especially when it’s on campus, is great.”

Other students agree that the Morsani center’s location on campus will be beneficial.

“It’s very innovative and incorporates all of health care into one center. I think it’s a good opportunity for us as students,” said Karan Desai, a first-year medical student. “We have Moffitt and Tampa General Hospital where people can rotate, but this will be USF’s own, and it will be nice to be in-house and learn from that.”

The center will also incorporate more services for patients, including diagnostic imaging, MRI, mammography, X-ray and nuclear medicine.

“We have the latest and greatest in our imaging equipment that we don’t have on this campus currently,” Green said.

The center will also include a Sweetbay Pharmacy on the first floor, so patients will be able to get their prescriptions filled on site.

“(Patients) will have one-stop shopping and more comprehensive services available from USF Health and its physicians,” Green said. “So they can go to the facility and get diagnostic imaging done, have outpatient surgery done or they could go to this facility to have a regular visit with their physician.”

Green said the major difference between the two health centers is that the Morsani Center will include ambulatory services. Ambulatory services are those that don’t require an overnight stay in the hospital.

“Our patients can get everything they need in that location,” Green said.

Green said the Morsani center cost $67 million to build, plus another $10 million for technology equipment.

The construction of the building is being funded by three different sources, with the majority of the money coming from donations by philanthropists Carol and Frank Morsani. Other monies were received from the state of Florida and physician bond funds.

Frank Morsani has been on the USF Foundation Board of Trustees and is the chair of the USF Health Facilities Campaign. Carol Morsani chairs the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy program, and the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center named its Carol Morsani Festival Hall after her.

The Morsanis have donated to other USF programs in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, College of Public Health, Public Broadcasting and USF Athletics.

“USF’s medical school is really doing some great things, and it is our desire to assist them in their endeavors,” Frank Morsani said. “Having everything in one place so that all diagnostic work, lab work, X-rays and all can be done at one place is going to make it so much easier for the consumer. It will enhance the delivery system to the consumer.”