In 2010 LSU, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center (OLOL), and the state of Louisiana recognized an opportunity to improve patient care and Graduate Medical Education (GME) in Baton Rouge. In 1968, Earl K. Long Medical Center was established by Louisiana State University with a mission to provide high quality healthcare and medical education. Over time due to a growing limitation of resources, the hospital became severely challenged in its ability to deliver on its primary mission. In response to this, leaders from LSU, OLOL, and the state government developed a plan to preserve the original mission of Earl K. Long and improve the patient care and GME efforts in Baton Rouge.
This plan involved a public/private collaboration whereby the inpatient and outpatient services along with the LSU sponsored GME programs would be transferred to OLOL. This transition of care and GME efforts occured in April of 2013. LSU Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine residents are now trained at one of the largest private medical centers in Louisiana, with more than 840 licensed beds and an 11-parish service area (www.ololrmc.com). Additional LSU sponsored programs were also relocated to OLOL. These include General Surgery, ENT, Vascular Surgery, Orthopedics, and Ophthalmology. The LSU-OLOL Collaboration represents an exciting change to the Graduate Medical Education efforts in Louisiana, and will help establish Baton Rouge as a premier academic medical community.
The Medical Education and Innovation Center
In 1974, Dr. Tinsely Harrison wrote, "If our technical schools can train excellent engineers, as they do, and our schools of divinity can train dedicated ministers, as they do, it does not seem an insuperable task for our medical schools to train physicians that can think like engineers and feel like ministers." On a philosophical basis, a challenge in medical education is to create an environment that fosters the development of highly sophisticated critical thinkers while simultaneously remaining focused on the humanism that defines the most outstanding clinicians. This is the thematic foundation upon which LSU's Medical Education and Innovation Center (MEIC) was designed.
The MEIC's mission is to attract purpose-driven individuals of whom Dr. Catherine Lucey, Vice-Dean for Education at the University of California at San Francisco, references in the following commentary. "Residents who choose to work caring for vulnerable populations are a special group of people. They are truly purpose driven and they are willing to work to make sure that everyone in a community has access to the kind of doctors we all want for the people we love. The literature shows that physicians who train in such environments are much more likely to continue to serve the poor and disenfranchised, even though it may mean personal sacrifice."
The MEIC will foster a "sense of place" for all purpose driven individuals attracted to Baton Rouge. This idea was proposed by Ms. Carol Gikas, the President and Executive Director of the Louisiana Art & Science Museum. "Whenever we experience a sense of place, we know it and we remember it. Experiencing a sense of place prepares our senses, minds, and hearts to be engaged, and it instills a desire in us to join the community of others that has given meaning to a place. Appropriateness of design and the authenticity of objects in a space are important elements that help foster a feeling of human belonging. Where there is a strong sense of space there is a strong sense of pride."
The notable artwork and spaces contributing to our sense of place are found on the second floor Teaching Terrace, in the Reconciliation Room and rounding areas located throughout the building. The MEIC, through its award winning design, also pays tribute to Charity Hospital in New Orleans and the LSU undergraduate campus in Baton Rouge. The tower on the east side of the building is reminiscent of the Campanile on LSU's main campus, and the outdoor garden and terraced seating area was influenced by the Greek Theater. A contemporary interpretation of Enrique Alferez's Art Deco piece found above the main entrance of Charity Hospital will be displayed on the back wall of the first floor lobby.
As the epicenter of GME efforts in Baton Rouge, the MEIC creates a peaceful and reflective environment that conveys a message that medicine should remain foremost a healing profession that embodies humanism as one of its most fundamental characterisitics.