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DURHAM, NC – Duke University School of Medicine will celebrate the opening of the Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Center for Health Education – the first new home for medical education at Duke since 1930 – with a dedication of the state-of-the-art classroom and administrative building on Feb. 8, 2013.
 
The new six-story, 104,000-square-foot health education building opened to students in January, featuring a floor dedicated to simulation laboratories that can transform from mock clinical exam rooms to surgery suites and emergency rooms.
 
Construction of the $53 million Trent Semans Center took two years and was paid for almost entirely with philanthropic contributions, including $35 million from The Duke Endowment, part of a $50 million gift in 2008 that was the largest ever received by Duke Medicine. Alumni, friends, faculty, staff, and medical students and their parents also generously supported the building fund.
 
The new facility is centrally located on the medical center campus, close to Duke University Hospital, laboratory and research buildings, medical clinics, the Duke Cancer Center and a new hospital addition, Duke Medicine Pavilion, which will open in June 2013.
 
“The location of this building – near our new hospital pavilion, our Cancer Center, and our clinical operations and research facilities, puts medical education where it belongs – at the heart of everything we do. Duke has a long history of innovation, and now we have a facility that will allow our faculty and students to shape the future of medical education – and the future leaders of health and medicine,” said Victor J. Dzau, M.D., chancellor for health affairs and president and CEO of Duke University Health System.
 
In addition to the simulation labs, the Trent Semans Center also includes a ground floor auditorium, a learning hall, and flexible, state-of-the-art classrooms with moveable walls and chairs to accommodate team-based activities. Spaces on the third and fourth floors provide dedicated study rooms for students and areas where faculty and trainees can meet informally.
 
“Until now, the School of Medicine didn’t have a centralized space where faculty and students could interact, both formally and informally,” said Edward G. Buckley, M.D., vice dean for medical education. “The Trent Semans Center will lead to many great interactions – planned and unplanned – among students, residents, fellows, postdocs, faculty, and staff that will transform medical education at Duke.”
 
“The School of Medicine recruits exceptionally talented students who become leaders in medicine and science,” said Nancy C. Andrews, M.D., Ph.D., dean of Duke University School of Medicine. “The new Trent Semans Center for Health Education will be a spectacular place for them to begin their professional education.”
 
“The Trent Semans Center is unlike any facility the medical school has ever had. The new training environment with the simulation labs is incredible,” said Tanmay Gokhale, a fourth-year M.D.,Ph.D. candidate who was one of 40 students tapped to participate in the building’s planning process. “The building also encourages collaboration and sharing among students. The medical education space at Duke used to be very fragmented, but now students from all four years can gather together in one location to learn from one another.”
 
The facility is named in honor of the late Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans, who died January 25, 2012, at the age of 91. Semans was the granddaughter of Benjamin Newton Duke, who was one of the chief benefactors of Trinity College that later became Duke University. Semans was a trustee of The Duke Endowment for 55 years and served as its first female chair from 1982-2001.
 
“Since its inception in 1924, The Duke Endowment has been committed to improving health and health care in the Carolinas,” said Minor Shaw, the Endowment’s board chair. “We believe that naming this facility for Mary honors her ties to the university and pays a fitting tribute to her remarkable life. We know that our founder, James B. Duke, and Mary would be proud to see this state-of-the-art building.”
 
“We are thrilled to have our new center for health education named for Mary Semans and honored to be forever associated with the love she embodied for her fellow man, her community, and all things Duke,” Andrews said. “This building is a wonderful tribute to our mother,” said Mary Jones, daughter of Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans. “I hope her presence will serve as a constant reminder for the students and faculty here to never stop pushing boundaries in their quest to make the world a healthier place for all people.”
 
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Trent Semans Center at a Glance:
 
• First new home for medical student education since classes began at the Davison Building in 1930.
• Will transform medical education at Duke, providing students with the latest in educational technologies and a team-based learning design, as well as dedicated study and gathering spaces.
• Located at the heart of the Duke medical campus – a short walk from Duke Hospital, Duke Clinic, research facilities and laboratories, the Cancer Center, and when completed, the Duke Medicine Pavilion.
• Construction initiated in 2011.
• Building opened for classes on January 2, 2013.
• Includes six floors and 104,000 square feet.
• Estimated cost: $53 million, funded almost entirely with philanthropic gifts.
 
Floor-by-Floor Highlights:
 
Ground Floor
Features a large, 400-seat great hall with an adjacent pre-event lobby. Partitions can divide the hall into three smaller meeting and teaching spaces.
 
First Floor Mezzanine
Includes a balcony overlooking the ground floor meeting room, an office suite, and support space.
 
Second Floor
Serves as the main pedestrian entry level. Includes a 150-seat learning hall to accommodate interactive, team-based learning; a conference room; the Jo Rae Café; a large gathering space for students and visitors; outside seating and a direct connection to the Duke University Medical Center Library.
 
Third floor
Features teaching labs with partitions that can be opened into two larger teaching spaces; a 38-seat classroom; a 20-seat conference room/small teaching space; six small-group rooms for group study or break-out teaching; dean’s offices; and student lockers. Connects to the adjacent Seeley G. Mudd Building.
 
Fourth Floor
Includes admissions, student affairs and advisory deans offices; the multi-cultural resource center; a 38-seat classroom; a 20-seat conference room/small teaching space; student lockers; and a large private student lounge with study space, eating areas and an outdoor roof-top terrace.
 
Fifth Floor
Has three human simulation rooms with full video recording capability that can be used as an operating room, a procedure room, and an ICU room. Also has a surgery education lab with simulated surgery training stations, a 38-seat flexible classroom, and 12 exam rooms for teaching with standardized patients (actors).
 
Sixth Floor
Expansion space

 
Photo 1: The six-story Trent Semans Center at the heart of Duke Medical Center is the first new home to health education since classes began at the Davison Building in 1930.
 

 
Photo 2: A 150-seat hall on the second floor of the Trent Semans Center provides state-of-the-art media capabilities that enhance interactive learning.