CAMLS Expansion Extends Tampa Bay's Reach As Biotech Hub

CAMLS, the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation in downtown Tampa, will soon build a new facility in Panama to expand its ability to teach medical providers in Central and South America.

The research and innovation center uses innovative simulation technology and robotics to enable students, doctors and residents to practice the latest surgical techniques in a safe environment. The concept is an advancement of modern learning and has the potential to transform the healthcare industry.

A feasibility study for the Panama expansion that began in April was recently accepted by SENACYT, the National Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation of the Republic of Panama. The facility -- similar to the Tampa facility, but on a smaller scale -- will also serve southern Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Caribbean Islands.

Such partnerships help "us establish global recognition for USF as a leader in transforming healthcare education for all specialties,'' says Deborah Sutherland, CEO for CAMLS and USF Health International Foundation, the group that is managing the Panama expansion. "It also brings more visibility and recognition to the Tampa Bay area as a true force in biotech development.''

The two facilities will participate in student exchanges, allowing USF students to study health care and priorities in urban as well as rural communities in less developed nations, where they can learn to treat diseases that have been fully eradicated in the U.S. CAMLS was part of recent local efforts to encourage Copa Airlines to provide direct flights from Tampa International Airport to Latin America, which will help facilitate the exchanges.

CAMLS will have a licensing agreement with the new organization, which will allow them to use the USF name and all of the components of the operation, including the curriculum. USF will also assist them with mentoring and relationships to help them identify resources.

Sutherland says CAMLS is also considering international expansion projects in Brazil, Mexico and Lebanon. These countries are interested in the medical tourism industry, and are seeking Joint Commission International accreditation for their hospitals. CAMLS assists with credentialing healthcare professors to assist with achieving this accreditation, which sets the standards for healthcare quality.

CAMLS served just under 15,000 learners in its 90,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility in Tampa in its first year of operation, with 472 training activities. They are predicting 20,000 will be served this year now that they are fully functional. The Panama location is expected to serve over 18,000, both from Panama and surrounding regions.

Megan Hendricks is a native Floridian and longtime Tampa Bay resident who loves the culture and diversity of the region. In her free time she enjoys local restaurants, thrift store shopping and spending time with her family. She earned her masters of business administration from USF Tampa. Comments? Contact 83 Degrees.
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A Florida native and longtime Tampa Bay resident, Megan Hendricks graduated from the University of South Florida with a master's degree in business administration. She worked at the USF College of Business and has extensive community experience including the Tampa Bay Partnership's Talent Dividend Advisory Board, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Emerge Tampa Bay, Ekhos, and Bar Camp Tampa. She is a former board member and newsletter editor for Creative Tampa Bay. Megan enjoys telling the stories that make Tampa Bay a unique, diverse cultural experience.