The Hannaford Charitable Foundation has donated $500,000 to help Maine Medical Center build a new medical simulation learning center in Portland.

The center will allow medical school graduates and staff working at the Portland teaching hospital to practice medical techniques, ranging from surgery to patient examinations.

The $5.82 million facility – to be called The Hannaford Center for Safety, Innovation and Simulation at Maine Medical Center – is expected to open this fall and will be located at the hospital’s Brighton Avenue campus.

The simulation center will include operating rooms identical to those at the hospital, a skills lab where students practice procedures such as stitching sutures or performing colonoscopies and patient rooms where students can practice communication skills and their bedside manner. The center will have a dozen medical mannequins, each costing more than $300,000 each, that breathe, bleed and mimic injuries or diseases.

“Evolving medical education research data indicates that simulation centers may turn out to be one of the best, most efficient, and safest ways to learn medical techniques and gain medical knowledge,” says Randy Darby, M.D., director of Medical Simulation at Maine Medical Center. “We’ll be able to teach students in a controlled – but completely realistic – environment. In the same way the pilots learn to fly and sharpen their skills through simulation drills, our students and staff can practice deliberately and repeatedly, fully learn a concept, perfect a technique, and be much more skilled when they treat patients in the real world.”

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