Lehigh Valley Health Network has bought the Venel Institute in Bethlehem to expand its educational capabilities.
Dr. Robert Barraco, trauma surgeon and chief academic officer for LVHN, showed off the anatomical research and educational facility Wednesday that will allow current physicians, residents and fellows to learn new procedures on cadavers.
“This adds a whole new dimension to learning we haven’t had before,” Barraco said. “This gives us innovations in teaching that will make us the best we can be before practicing.”
Barraco said LVHN is expanding its educational programs to address the critical staffing needs in the health care industry. The addition of the institute will also give the medical school access to more high technology and offer a variety of modalities and techniques.
He explained that the use of cadavers gives practitioners real-life experience using new techniques and instrumentation before bringing the procedures to patients.
The facility has a 60-seat auditorium for lectures, a small room for procedures and the lab, which has room for 15 tables for larger groups. The lab is equipped with video monitors so practitioners can see how procedures are to be done as they are learning.
The Venel Institute, named for the “Father of Orthopedics” Dr. Jean-Andre Venel (1740-1791), will also offer outreach programs to high schools for students interested in a health care career. The institute has been offering programs to area high schools throughout its 13-year history.
Barraco said Venel will complement LVHN’s new state-of-the-art Center for Healthcare Education in Center Valley which is slated to open next month.
“This will really allow us to tailor the educational content and method to a group and its needs, whoever that group may be,” he said.
Along with the Center for Healthcare Education, Venel could serve as a potential training ground and education facility for LVHN’s institutes, including Lehigh Valley Orthopedic Institute, Lehigh Valley Heart and Vascular Institute and Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence.
Venel Institute will also be part of LVHN’s medical school program run in partnership with the University of South Florida (USF) Morsani College of Medicine in Tampa, which has about 56 students per year, he said.
“Our partnership with the USF Morsani College of Medicine sets us apart, and the addition of Venel will enrich an already top-notch learning experience for our students,” Barraco said. “The addition of Venel will help make them as ready as they can be for their residencies.”l