Barry University broke ground Thursday, Jan. 18 on the long anticipated Center for Community Health and Minority Medicine. Many community officials and major donors were present, in addition to students, faculty and staff representing the Schools of Graduate Medical Sciences, Podiatric Medicine, Nursing and various other schools and divisions.
President Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, PhD led the morning ceremony with a welcome address and remarks. Cyrus Jollivette, senior vice president of Public Affairs, represented major donor, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and also gave an address to those in attendance. Rev. Scott O'Brien, OP blessed the site of the future building, and the Barry University Choir was also present to perform several selections.
Once complete, the Center will house the newly formed Division of Medicine, including the Schools of Graduate Medical Sciences and Podiatric Medicine. The School of Nursing will also utilize research and classroom space in the new facilities.
"This new facility will represent a coming together of signature programs in health professional education, where there will be a great cross-fertilization of faculties," said Barry University President Sister Linda Bevilacqua, OP, PhD.
In addition to serving more than 400 health professional students, the Center will also enable Barry to continue its commitment to serving minority and underserved communities. Barry was designated a Hispanic Serving Institution in May of 2006 and has embraced this position in the community.
"Of the more than 450,000 medically underserved residents in greater Miami, more than 250,000 patients have been cared for by our faculty and students," Bevilacqua said. "In the last 10 years, our doctors have treated and operated on nearly 5,000 crippled indigent children in the Yucatan Peninsula. Our five Foot and Ankle Institutes are unique to the podiatric colleges and provide nearly $1-million a year in charitable care."
Barry takes it a step beyond simply serving these communities, and is committed to training the next generation of minority health professionals. Barry's School of Podiatric Medicine graduates more Hispanic podiatrists than any other school in the country.
When all three phases of the development plan are complete, the Center will house classroom, research and clinical training facilities, and focus on diseases that disproportionately effect minority and medically underserved communities. It will also facilitate the development of educational programs for the prevention, treatment and management of these diseases.
"The Center not only provides us with increased capacity to attract and train health professional students from diverse backgrounds but better enables us to serve the health and medical needs of our diverse population in South Florida as well as the state and the nation," said Director Richard Patton.
Phase I of the center is estimated to cost approximately $5 million with the total cost of constructing the Barry University Center for Community Health and Minority Medicine estimated at more than $18 million. It is hoped that students and faculty will be utilizing the facilities contained in Phase I by the fall of 2008.