GVSU deepens impact on Medical Mile with addition of new health building

Aerial view of the Medical Mile in downtown Grand Rapids.
Image Credit: Amanda Pitts

A designated stretch along Michigan Street in downtown Grand Rapids, known as Medical Mile, has experienced tremendous growth since its beginnings in the mid-1990s — and Grand Valley has grown with it.

The Daniel and Pamella DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health (DCIH), the third building on Grand Valley’s Health Campus, opened in May on Medical Mile. DCIH joins the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences (CHS) and Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall.

Grand Valley will hold a November 3 dedication ceremony for DCIH; about 400 community members are expected to attend.

Medical Mile’s roots began in 1996 with the creation of the Van Andel Institute, a biomedical research and science education organization. Medical Mile has since grown to include the Spectrum Health System (Meijer Heart Center, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, and Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion); Michigan State University College of Human Medicine; and Ferris State University College of Pharmacy, among others. 

Grand Valley became the first educator with a presence on Medical Mile in 2003 with the opening of CHS and has played a crucial role in Grand Rapids becoming a destination for health care.

Health students use a virtual anatomy table.
Students use the virtual anatomy table which can be programmed to show not only normal anatomy but a long list of pathological conditions.
Image Credit: Valerie Hendrickson

Now, more than 4,000 students graduate with degrees in medicine and health care programs from institutions along the Medical Mile and the workforce includes more than 60,000 bioscience-related professionals and is expected to double. Over the past two decades, the Medical Mile has received more than $2 billion in investments from public and private contributions.

Grand Valley is the leading provider of health care professionals in West Michigan with more than 9,300 students enrolled in 20+ health-related programs. 

Inside DCIH, students are utilizing advanced simulation technology and interactive laboratories. The center includes one of the largest interprofessional, comprehensive, state-of-the-art simulation centers in Michigan. Highlights include electronic 3D modeling and imaging of the body and its organs, plastinated specimens, a virtual anatomy table and classrooms with interactive walls and floors.

Students inside a lab with interactive walls and floors.
Students learn in labs with interactive walls and floors that can be programmed to look like almost anything - including a hospital setting or the scene of an accident.
Image Credit: Valerie Hendrickson

“Grand Valley has been a leader in the education of nursing and health professionals for decades,” said President Philomena V. Mantella. “The addition of the DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health to our Health Campus enhances our ability to offer the very best technology and most innovative learning environment for our students, who will go on to provide world-class health care in our region and beyond.” 

The five-story, 166,000-square-foot building is helping Grand Valley accommodate expanding programs in emerging and growing fields at both the undergraduate and graduate level. 

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said Grand Valley has been a strong collaborator in the Medical Mile pillars of higher education, health care systems and research. Bliss said GVSU meets the needs of companies seeking to locate here by providing a talent pipeline of students.

Daniel and Pamella DeVos were the lead donors for the center, with another 700 donors providing more than $20 million to help make the building a reality. The State of Michigan provided $29 million for the $70 million project. 

Matt McLogan, vice president for University Relations, said lawmakers overseeing capital outlay have been receptive to Grand Valley because of the university's lead role in addressing the changing dynamics of medical care. 

"Legislators saw medical care changing from doctor and patient to doctor, team and patient," McLogan said. "We are the producers of the team."

Daniel and Pamella DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health.
The Daniel and Pamella DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health on GVSU's Health Campus in downtown Grand Rapids.
Image Credit: Valerie Hendrickson