The University of the Virgin Islands Board of Trustees authorized President David Hall to begin the development process of the School of Medicine’s simulation center on its St. Croix campus and the classroom building on the St. Thomas Campus, in a special meeting Monday.
In doing so, the board accepted the university administration’s recommendation for their locations, according to a statement from the university.
The plan is students will begin classroom instruction at the classroom building on the St. Thomas location and will continue specialized practical training at the simulation center on St. Croix. The simulation center will also be used for continuing professional development by local, regional, national and international physicians and nurses. The center will also be available for use by allied health professionals and first responders.
The trustees first met in a special session on Sept. 11, to receive location recommendations from Dr. Benjamin Sachs, the interim dean of the School of Medicine. However, when quorum was lost after a lengthy executive session, Chairman Smock told Hall to host public forums to get public feedback. Those sessions were held Oct. 1 and 2. The board also held special meetings with the Virgin Islands governor, senators, government officials and other stakeholders.
UVI plans to build a School of Medicine that will be certified by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education. making it the only LCME-accredited English-speaking medical school in the Caribbean. The location and design of the school’s facilities must be submitted to the LCME as part of the application process. December is the deadline for preliminary submission of accreditation requirements.
In regular session of the Oct. 6 meeting, the Board received a special presentation by Sen. Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly. The senator, who said she was speaking as a regular citizen of St. Croix and not in her elected capacity, made an impassioned plea to the Board to have the School of Medicine’s classroom building built on St. Croix. Following her presentation the Board moved into executive session to continue discussing the agenda item and to take the vote.
According to a statement from UVI, the Board found that it is in the best interest of the Virgin Islands and the project to develop a territory-wide medical school that uses both campuses, both hospitals, and selected clinics throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands. Factors determining the final locations for the medical school facilities were based on accreditation standards used by the LCME, the compatibility and strengths of medical resources on both islands, the economic impact of both facilities, and the ultimate success of the project, according to the university. The medical school is projected to have a comparable long-term economic impact on St. Croix and St. Thomas.
Members voting in favor: Donna Frett Gregory, David Hall, Luz Highfield, Alexander Moorhead, Gwen Norton, Jennifer Nugent-Hill, Oswin Sewer, Henry Smock, Patricia Steele, Yvonne Thraen, Sinclair Wilkinson and Wesley Williams.
Members absent from at the time of the vote were: Wendy Aurelien, Carol Fulp, Jacqueline Sprauve, Edward Thomas and Aletha Bauman.