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Clinical Health Science and Wellness Building cuts the ribbon

Students, faculty, staff and administrators visited the new Clinical Health Science and Wellness Building on Sept. 14 to celebrate its grand opening.
Students, faculty, staff and administrators visited the new Clinical Health Science and Wellness Building on Sept. 14 to celebrate its grand opening.

Last spring, Miami University opened its newest building, the Clinical Health Science and Wellness Building, on campus. The building is located on 421 S. Campus Ave, near Goggin Ice Arena and the Recreation Center. 

On Thursday, Sept. 14, the building hosted an official ribbon cutting ceremony. The ribbon cutting included refreshments, speakers and a self-guided tour of the building. Miami students, faculty, administrators, alumni and various community members attended the event. 

Senior speech pathology and audiology majors Ashley Hurley and Nick Wallace have enjoyed having academic spaces designated for their major and utilizing the study spaces in between classes. Wallace says he likes finding new quiet study spaces in the building that many students haven’t yet discovered. 

“Having study space to sit makes a huge difference,” Hurley  said. “It makes more sense to stay here during breaks in our classes now and be able to work together.”

Junior speech pathology and audiology major Taylor Gallagher says that her experiences in her audiology classes in the new building seem very different from the experiences Hurley and Wallace had in their audiology classes before the new building was completed. 

“Comparing what you guys have said it just feels so much nicer, it’s not dim,” Gallagher said. “I had a tuning fork lab, and we all got to break into groups and go into the new study spaces and actually get to interact with the materials and it just feels like a great experience in the new building.”

The centerpiece of the new and improved facilities available is the medical simulation center, which provides a large array of resources to test students on handling medical situations, from home health consultations to trauma incidents.

Miami Provost Liz Mullenix kicked off the ribbon-cutting event, and the speakers included ’85 alum and Board of Trustee member Biff Bowman and Miami President Greg Crawford.

Mullenix spoke about the fundraising for the building, which came from Miami’s largest fundraising campaign, “For Love, For Honor, and For Those Who Will.” The campaign’s goal is to raise a billion dollars. 

“This evening, we're here to celebrate this important milestone in the campaign and in the life of this fine university,” Mullenix said. “The grand opening of this amazing facility will prepare our students to be transformative practitioners and leaders in health care.” 

Miami Board of Trustee members Biff and Colleen Bowman named the Family Speech and Hearing Clinic. Bowman talked about the early discussion stages of the building during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It was bold, and [Crawford] was convinced [the building was needed] and the Board listened,” Bowman said. “And when we sat there and thought about the future and what we want to invest in, in the future [and] clinical health and wellness, in a period when a pandemic was ravaging the country, made sense.” 

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Two of Bowman’s daughters work in the healthcare industry, and he was inspired by seeing so much excitement around the new health and wellness building at Miami.

“The opening of this new facility’s a perfect time to celebrate the achievements of Miami's healthcare professionals,” Bowman said. “You're all over the place in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and many other places in the United States.”

Crawford followed Bowman and talked about the individuals heavily involved in the building, thanking regional associate director for academic affairs Brooke Flinders and interim chair and associate professor Stephanie Nicely for their work in the nursing program. 

Christopher Howell, program director and clinical associate professor, created the physician’s assistant program from scratch. This year, 26 students are enrolled in the program. 

“Our whole vision was to really bring people together to really have excellence in clinical health sciences, to have excellence in transdisciplinary research, to have excellence in Student Health and Wellness,” Crawford said. “We get more done together than we could otherwise do on our own.”

The new building is also the first place at Miami’s Oxford campus to offer space specifically for nursing, Elizabeth Zwilling, a nursing professor, said.

“The nice thing is that students know nursing students have a place to be so before we were all over to cheat in any brand of building and they didn't really have a home,” Zwilling said. “When we came here [to Oxford] to teach our classes we had to teach our classes in a random place.”

Alan Strauman, a microbiology professor, said that many of his classes were in Pearson Hall before, but there wasn’t a lot of space, because the building was primarily occupied by other disciplines. The faculty members were also spread out across campus, making it difficult to communicate with each other.

In addition to healthcare students and faculty, Bowman hopes the building will bring added value beyond Miami.

“The World Health Organization predicts a shortfall of 15 million workers by 2030,” Bowman said. “This crisis represents an opportunity and a responsibility for Miami to expand this capacity to train nurses, speech pathologists, audiologists, physician's associates, and everyone associated in this industry.”

Additional reporting by Contributing Writer William Kwan.