The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine’s current medical education building, Berryhill Hall, was built more than 45 years ago and no longer meets the needs of today’s medical teaching/learning methods, nor can it accommodate an increase in the medical student class size.

This project proposes to replace Berryhill with a new medical education facility that will allow for modern teaching and learning techniques and help UNC to attract the very best applicants nationally, as well as increase our class size to meet the growing needs of our state.

The project is estimated to cost $90.6 million, of which the Bond Referendum would support $68 million. Once all funding is obtained, the building design and construction will last approximately three-and-a-half years.

Why is this particular project important to the School of Medicine?

“The UNC School of Medicine has a long tradition of training leaders in health care. Providing superior education is a critically important mission of the School of Medicine. As the practice of medicine changes, we need to ensure that we are developing engaged, highly capable students who are well prepared to serve the people of North Carolina.

Since Berryhill Hall was dedicated in 1970, medical education has changed dramatically.  It has become more active, more self-directed, more interprofessional and more driven by technology.  At the same time, medical education has become more team-based and is characterized by close instructional relationships fostered by small-group learning and regular faculty input.  Students participate in clinical care earlier in their course of study. Competing medical schools have embraced these instructional changes, and have built modern and advanced educational facilities. Recruiting the top students is more difficult with our dated learning spaces. For all of these reasons, Berryhill Hall, now more than 45 years old, no longer meets 21st-century instructional needs.

A new and very different kind of facility is needed to meet both our current and future needs.  Essential to our ability to accomplish our mission are the facilities and support infrastructure that will ensure our continued ability to recruit and train physicians, both within Chapel Hill and across the state.”

How does the selected project help meet your stated educational goals?

“The School of Medicine has restructured its curriculum to prepare students to be leaders of 21st century medicine and is optimizing student recruitment and admissions practices to provide physicians needed for the state of North Carolina to fulfill our vision of being the nation’s leading public medical school. In order to continue in that path, we need additional restructuring within our teaching facilities. To put that into context, when our current medical school building opened more than 45 years ago there were a total of 353 MD students. Since then we have expanded to encompass significant training opportunities for related programs and fields.  In 2014, we trained 2,400 students (MD, PhD, Residents, Masters and Professional) in dated facilities that are not designed to address 21st century teaching and research needs.

Our current spaces are fully utilized with a MD class size of 180.  In the future, as we work to address the looming physician crisis in our state, we anticipate an increased MD class size that will reach 230 students.

In order to accommodate that growth, it is essential that we have more space: space that allows for modern clinical teaching methods, such as increased space for simulation and interpersonal education; smaller instructional rooms and areas that are more technologically advanced that allow for more teamwork and dynamic learning; and flexibility, allowing for team-based learning with various small group sizes as well as a common area where students will be able to gather to study individually and in small groups.

The new facility will allow us to provide our students with experiences that develop their ability to work in diverse teams alongside nurses, pharmacists and other allied health professionals, taking care of populations of patients and improving the quality and cost-effectiveness of care.  Furthermore, with the new facility we will be able to promote active learning and utilize other advances in teaching methodology that have been demonstrated to be effective in settings outside of medicine.”

What impact will completion of the project have beyond the campus?

“In short, a newer, larger and more advanced medical education building is crucial to the UNC School of Medicine’s mission of top-tier, nationally recognized physician training. Currently, nearly half of all doctors trained at the UNC School of Medicine practice in the state of North Carolina. Our state, like the rest of the nation, is facing a growing shortage of physicians. This problem will continue to grow as the over-65 population ages and today’s practicing physicians retire, so this project, through an increased class size and modern medical education methods, will ensure the people of North Carolina continue to receive world class care for decades to come.”

What other benefits of the bond passage would you like to discuss?

“The new medical education facility will allow UNC to better serve communities across North Carolina by enabling us to increase medical trainees’ presence in our partner teaching sites at UNC School of Medicine Asheville campus, UNC School of Medicine Charlotte campus, and now UNC School of Medicine Wilmington campus, as well as additional teaching sites throughout the state.”


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