DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health will help meet changing needs of health care industry

A group of GVSU and community leaders cutting a ribbon.
GVSU officials, community leaders and donors cut a ribbon at a November 3 event to celebrate the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

Grand Valley State University's new Daniel and Pamella DeVos Center for Interprofessional Health (DCIH) is addressing the ever-changing needs of health care education, said President Philomena V. Mantella during a dedication ceremony for the new health building.

About 400 community members and donors attended the November 3 event to celebrate DCIH, which opened in May on Grand Valley’s Health Campus on Medical Mile in downtown Grand Rapids.

GVSU President Philomena V. Mantella giving remarks at a podium.
GVSU President Philomena V. Mantella.
Image credit - Valerie Hendrickson

Mantella said the dedication was a celebration of GVSU’s partnership with the community and the state.

“Because of your support, we can better prepare our students, increase the number of graduates and keep up with the many programmatic needs of the health care systems,” Mantella said.

In addition to supporting health majors, Mantella said students from health-adjacent programs such as social work, criminal justice, biomedical engineering, and hospitality and tourism management will also learn and collaborate in the new health building.

“There is also expansive space for our industry partners to work with computer science graduate students and faculty in the GVSU Applied Computing Institute,” said Mantella. “And, there is new space to support student veterans in The Peter Secchia Family Military and Veterans Lounge.”

Dan and Pamella DeVos join others cutting a ribbon.
Pamella and Daniel DeVos, center, were lead donors for the new health center.
Image credit - Valerie Hendrickson

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

 Dan DeVos thanked donors who supported the facility, saying it will have a significant impact on Grand Valley students and the quality of care for the broader community.

“We felt drawn to the opportunity to help Grand Valley bring even more high-caliber talent to the region,” he said. “We were also captivated by the idea of interprofessional training that prepares students to work in patient-centered teams, which is clearly the future of health care.”

Pamella DeVos said it was a privilege to serve on the art advisory committee for the center. “From the beginning, Dan and I have supported and taken interest in many aspects of this new building, from the advanced learning technology to the beautiful art which has been installed throughout the hallways and classrooms,” she said. “We intentionally selected pieces we believed would resonate with students and provide them with inspiration in their learning journeys.” 

Katie Branch, director of Simulation.
Katie Branch, director of Simulation.
Image credit - Valerie Hendrickson
Zoie Hulst, a student in the physician assistant studies program, speaks at the podium. Nursing student Jared Gordon stands beside her.
Zoie Hulst, a student in the physician assistant studies program, gives remarks, along with nursing student Jared Gordon, right.
Image credit - Kendra Stanley-Mills

DCIH 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.

Katie Branch, director of Simulation, said since DCIH opened, GVSU has received calls for tours from institutions throughout the country. She said students from more than 20 health-related academic disciplines come to the simulation spaces to perfect their clinical, therapeutic, communication and physical assessment skills. 

“It took the foresight and input of GVSU leadership, faculty, staff, community members, donors and especially students to create a facility that inspires curiosity and fosters innovation,” Branch said.

Zoie Hulst, a senior in the physician assistant studies program, said DCIH provides an environment to create interprofessional relationships with a diverse group of future medical professionals. She said she is learning the most in the simulation center.  

“Everything about these simulations is real, right down to my adrenaline,” said Hulst. “Simulation provides the space to work through my adrenaline and work on my critical thinking skills in extremely high-stake cases without someone’s life on the line.”

DCIH has 17 classrooms and 12 interactive laboratories equipped to create interprofessional team environments and encourage collaboration.

Nursing student Jared Gordon said it’s clear students were kept in mind during the designing of the health building. 

“The simulation labs give us a safe but realistic environment to test our knowledge and skills in situations we will encounter as nurses,” he said. “The soundproof study rooms and giant whiteboards are great for mapping out important concepts, and I love reserving them with my nursing friends before a big exam.”

Nathan Kemler, director of Galleries and Collections, stands at podium.
Nathan Kemler, director of Galleries and Collections, gives remarks at the podium.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

More than 400 works of art are on display inside DCIH, with contemporary glass artworks on every floor. The highlight of these works is a piece by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly. The glass piece, entitled Laker Blue and Opaline Persian Chandelier, is representative of the artist’s Persian series. 

Nathan Kemler, director of Galleries and Collections at GVSU, said community, empathy and innovationwere some of the central themes identified for artwork in the building. 

“It was important to talk about health from a holistic perspective. From the Flint water crisis and teen homelessness to gender identity and systemic racism, these stories provide important perspectives that help our learners grow in empathy and understanding of mental and physical health,” he said. 

DCIH is the third and flagship building on the Health Campus, joining the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences and Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall.


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