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School of Allied Health Professions breaks ground on new state-of-the-art facility

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Left to right: JD Drasbek, president of the Master of Health Administration class of 2019; Marsha Rappley, M.D., CEO of VCU Heath System and VCU vice president of health sciences; Michael Rao, Ph.D., president of VCU and VCU Health System; Cecil B. Drain, Ph.D., dean of VCU School of Allied Health Professions; Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe; Delegate S. Chris Jones; Harry Thalhimer, board chair of the MCV Foundation.

More than 200 students, faculty, staff, alumni, elected officials and community members gathered beneath a white tent bordered by mounds of dirt and bulldozers on Friday at the future site of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Allied Health Professions. The event attendees, many of whom had been working toward the day for decades, were assembled at 600 N. 10th St. to celebrate the groundbreaking of the school’s new 154,000-square-foot building. 

“What is great about this building is that it will bring all of these health care professionals together,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said.The eight-level facility will, for the first time in the school’s nearly 50-year history, centralize all 11 of the School of Allied Health Professions’ units.

“The bottom line is that this is a great school and it deserves to be under one roof,” said Cecil B. Drain, Ph.D., dean of the School of Allied Health Professions. In his 20 years as dean, Drain has made it a personal mission to unite the school’s programs, which have occupied as many as 13 buildings in the past 45 years and are currently scattered among five buildings on two campuses.

Programs housed at VCU School of Allied Health Professions consistently rank among the top in the country. In March, U.S. News & World Report named the Department of Nurse Anesthesia’s graduate program as No. 1 in the country. The publication also ranked the school’s Department of Health Administration in the top three among its peers and overall, five of the programs in the school are ranked by the publication in the top 20.

“These are nationally ranked programs because we have nationally ranked faculty members and students,” said Michael Rao, Ph.D., president of VCU and VCU Health System. “These are among the most creative people in health care that you can imagine and I am proud that we will now be able to unite them so that they can benefit collaboratively from all of the great innovation that they have already been doing in their own locations.”

Taek Oh, a radiation therapy student.
Taek Oh, a radiation therapy student.

Radiation therapy student Taek Oh currently attends classes in the Honors College building on VCU’s Monroe Park Campus. The senior will graduate in a few weeks, but he is enthusiastic about the benefits that future radiation therapy students will derive from the new building.

“Now that we will all be in one building we will be able to get a grasp of what each department does,” Oh said. “In the hospital, radiographers interact with physical therapists and occupational therapists. The new building will allow us to interact with those students before graduating and to get an idea of what we all do.”

 

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