LSU Board of Supervisors Chair Jimmie Woods, and BOS members Glenn Armentor, Laurie Lipsey Aronson, Patrick Morrow, and Rémy Voisin Starns, LSU President William F. Tate and District D New Orleans City Councilmember Eugene Green joined LSU Health New Orleans Interim Chancellor Dr. Steve Nelson to formally open the Center for Advanced Learning and Simulation (CALS) on the LSU Health New Orleans campus on Thursday, December 7, 2023.

"We are excited about the opportunity this building represents and its impact on the next generation of health and medical professionals who will train there," said LSU President William F. Tate IV. "This will be a tremendous boost to our aggressive pursuit of NCI designation for the benefit of Louisiana."

"Today we usher in a new purpose for this facility -- one that stays true to its storied history of healing and innovation," said Dr. Nelson.

Construction completed in 1972 it was built as the new site for Hotel Dieu, a hospital founded in 1859 and operated by the Daughters of Charity. Hotel Dieu was the first hospital in the nation to air-condition its surgical suites, and it was the site of the breakthrough medical research that developed a sulfonamide drug treatment for meningitis. The State of Louisiana purchased Hotel Dieu in 1992 as a companion to Charity Hospital, renaming it University Hospital. University Hospital emerged from the flooding following Hurricane Katrina as the Interim LSU Hospital in 2006. The opening of the new University Medical Center closed it as a hospital. Repurposed as the Center for Advanced Learning and Simulation, or CALS, its mission of health education will carry on, in cutting-edge fashion.

Although his duties prevented his attendance at the ceremony, Governor John Bel Edwards sent his congratulations via video.

The eight-floor, 321,637 sq. ft. building brings the most sophisticated simulation technology for multiple disciplines under one roof to foster interprofessional education. The interdisciplinary hospital skills lab, along with 10 specialized simulation rooms, will greatly expand and diversify nursing education. CALS also boasts a 16-station demonstration lab and 6 specialized simulation rooms that will increase medical education capability. Standardized patient training includes 16 clinical rooms, “patient” training, large control room and support debriefing classrooms. The Campus Testing Center will accommodate large classes, and 7 private testing rooms will support special needs. More than 350 private and semiprivate clinical faculty offices, reception areas, classrooms, large presentation rooms and an expanded Wellness Center with cardio, weight training, group fitness and meditation rooms complete the space.

Taking a page from the airline industry, LSU Health New Orleans pioneered medical education with human patient simulators in the state, quickly becoming a national leader more than two decades ago. High-fidelity simulation supplies a realistic, safe learning environment where students can encounter uncommon clinical situations and learn from “mistakes” without repercussions. The curriculum provides students with hands-on experience solving sophisticated patient scenario cases that can be practiced until perfect. Studies have shown that medical simulation enhances clinical competence at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Advantages also include improved patient safety and reduced health care costs through the improvement of competencies.

Center for Advanced Learning and SimulationThe largest and most comprehensive health sciences center in Louisiana, LSU Health New Orleans established interprofessional education more than a decade ago. According to the World Health Organization, “Interprofessional education occurs when students from two or more professions learn about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes. Once students understand how to work interprofessionally, they are ready to enter the workplace as a member of the collaborative practice team. This is a key step in moving health systems from fragmentation to a position of strength.”
“We’re especially grateful to former Senator Edwin Murray and former Representative Helena Moreno, along with current legislators Senator Jimmy Harris, Senator Royce Duplessis and Representative Alonzo Knox of the Louisiana State Legislature and US Senator Bill Cassidy for securing funding for the renovation,” noted Dr. Nelson.