EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Indiana University, the University of Evansville and the University of Southern Indiana on Thursday dedicated a new shared hub for health sciences education in a ceremony that celebrated the campus’s potential to transform health care in southwestern Indiana and to serve as a catalyst for economic development in downtown Evansville.
The Stone Family Center for Health Sciences, located in the heart of the city, brings together academic health care programs from the three institutions under one roof and is anchored by IU School of Medicine’s programs in Evansville. The building is named for William and Mary Stone, who made a $15 million gift to support the health sciences center and multi-institutional partnership.
“The dedication of the Stone Family Center for Health Science is a further example of Indiana University’s strong commitment to increasing educational opportunities for students in the areas of medicine and health sciences in the city of Evansville, southwest Indiana and the surrounding region,” said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. “We are grateful to our partner institutions the University of Evansville, the University of Southern Indiana and the City of Evansville for their collective commitment to this medical education and research campus, which will have an enormous impact on Evansville and South West Indiana for many years to come. We are also deeply grateful to William and Mary Stone for their generous gift that supports our collective vision for a healthier, more vibrant community.”
IU School of Medicine-Evansville—one of the medical school’s nine campuses throughout the state—has already moved from its former location on the University of Southern Indiana campus to the new building, with members of the Class of 2022 arriving this week. The campus now serves 66 medical students at all stages of their training, and additional students who are assigned to the campus for select clinical experiences. In addition, the center includes space for the IU School of Dentistry, which is expanding programs to the city.
The Stone Family Center will also house the University of Evansville’s doctor of physical therapy program and its newly established physician assistant program, and the University of Southern Indiana’s nursing and occupational therapy programs.
The vision of the center is to:
Increase the number of health care providers trained in the region so they ultimately put down roots and choose to practice in Evansville and surrounding communities;
Train health care providers from different disciplines alongside one another so they are prepared to work together after graduation; and
Serve as the centerpiece of a downtown revitalization.
IU School of Medicine-Evansville has simultaneously developed a partnership with a regional consortia of hospitals to provide post-graduate training in southwestern Indiana. Newly minted physicians must complete a residency, which involves several years of advanced training in their chosen specialty. Historically, a majority of those programs have been located at academic health centers in large cities.
“As a medical school, we have an obligation to ensure we are preparing physicians who will serve all Hoosiers—regardless of where they live,” said IU School of Medicine Dean Jay L. Hess. “We know that students who train in communities are more likely to make personal and professional connections here, so it is our expectation that the expansion of medical education and the addition of residency positions in Evansville and surrounding communities will result in more physicians serving the patients of southwestern Indiana.”
The residency programs are being developed in collaboration with Deaconess Health System in Evansville, St. Vincent Evansville, Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, and Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center in Jasper, with the first new program scheduled to open in 2019.
Steven G. Becker, MD, associate dean and director of IU School of Medicine-Evansville, emphasized the project could not have become a reality without champions in the civic, business and government sectors who viewed the creation of the health sciences campus as vital for the city’s future.
“This building does not belong to Indiana University, the University of Evansville or the University of Southern Indiana,” said Dr. Becker, the Koch Professor of Medicine. “It belongs to the people of Evansville. I am certain the Stone Family Center for Health Sciences will make our community stronger, healthier and more dynamic, and I am proud that the IU School of Medicine can play a role in shaping that future.”
The day of festivities is scheduled to be capped off with a reception and networking event for IU alumni in the Evansville region. The evening event will feature tours of the new building and the dedication of “Healing Arts,” a fountain funded in part by a leadership gift from IU Trustee Patrick A. Shoulders and his wife, Lisa.
“The Stone Family Center is truly transformative for the City of Evansville and, at long last, establishes IU as a permanent and visible presence in Southwest Indiana,” Shoulders said. “Lisa and I look forward to the fountain serving as a constant reminder to our students that healing is an art for the benefit of children and families.”