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Davis Global Center will transform health care education

Image with caption: Pam Boyers, PhD, associate vice chancellor for clinical simulation and iEXCEL, left, and Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, took part in a simulated ribbon-cutting earlier this week for the Davis Global Center. They were joined by video compilation of other stakeholders.

Pam Boyers, PhD, associate vice chancellor for clinical simulation and iEXCEL, left, and Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, took part in a simulated ribbon-cutting earlier this week for the Davis Global Center. They were joined by video compilation of other stakeholders.

Step inside the Dr. Edwin G. & Dorothy Balbach Davis Global Center on the UNMC campus, and it's clear this is not a typical health science building.

Holographic images line the entryway and visitors are dwarfed by the atrium's three-story high SONY Infinity Wall -- the largest display of its kind in the Western Hemisphere -- which showcases the caliber of technology innovation offered throughout the facility.


Benefactors of the Dr. Edwin G. & Dorothy Balbach Davis Global Center include:

Lead benefactors

  • Dorothy B. Davis Foundation
  • Mrs. Willa Davis Seemann
  • William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation
  • Suzanne & Walter Scott Foundation

Principal Benefactors

  • Clarkson Regional Health Services
  • Home Instead Senior Care
  • Dr. Edward & Sally Malashock
  • Nebraska Medicine
  • Peter Kiewit Foundation
  • Polina and Bob Schlott
  • Martha and David Slosburg
  • Dorothy and Stanley M. Truhlsen, M.D.
  • UNMC College of Medicine Faculty


  • Hawkins Sisters Foundation
  • The Gilbert M. and Martha H. Hitchcock Foundation
  • Dr. Dennis and Ann Ross
  • Katy and Bill Schmidt

Nearby is the holographic theater -- the first in any academic institution in the world -- as well as the Laser CAVE-5, a laser-illuminated, five-sided fully immersive room that creates a "full-body" experience for users involving sight, sound, physical movement and interaction.

See photos from the event.

That's only a fraction of the innovation -- and possibilities -- found inside this multi-level, interprofessional clinical simulation center, purposefully designed to create safe, innovative and experiential training environments as well as a venue for innovative research and business development.

On Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 10 a.m. CT, the UNMC community officially celebrated the dedication of this interprofessional simulation facility made possible by public-private partnerships. Due to COVID-19, the ceremony was livestreamed to a global audience. For those who were unable to view the building dedication live, it is posted at unmc.edu.

"I've visited simulation centers around the world, but none compare to UNMC's Davis Global Center," said UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD. "This facility - and the professionals and technology within it - have been and will continue to be life-changing for the health professionals who train here. This center reshapes the way health care education is delivered for generations to come."

The state-of-the-art facility houses:

  • iEXCEL (Interprofessional Experiential Center for Enduring Learning) -- a transformative model for health professions education that incorporates advanced simulation and visualization technologies in realistic, simulated health care settings to improve the outcomes of patient care; and the
  • Global Center for Health Security -- encompassing biopreparedness training, infectious diseases and high-consequence infections research, education and clinical care.
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From left, Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, of UNMC and the University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Nebraska President Ted Carter and Nebraska Medicine CEO James Linder, MD, at Tuesday's event.

Nebraskans have long taken pride in strong public-private partnerships, and the Davis Global Center is yet another success story. Funding for the center was provided by the state of Nebraska, city of Omaha and the U.S. federal government. Private support was given by the Dorothy B. Davis Foundation, Mrs. Willa Davis Seemann of Omaha, the William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation, the Suzanne & Walter Scott Foundation and other benefactors.

About the private support received for the project, Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation, said, "It took a wonderful team of philanthropic supporters to enable the Davis Global Center to come to fruition. Their vision -- their tenaciousness -- brought this project to reality, and we cannot thank them enough for what they have done."

During the dedication, Dr. Gold was joined by Vice Admiral Charles "Chas" Richard, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command in Bellevue, Nebraska; Robert Kadlec, MD, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; Gen. John E. Hyten, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and most recently, commander at USSTRATCOM; as well as Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert.

'Simulated training improves human performance and ultimately patient care because it enables health care professionals at all levels of training to collaborate as teams and master clinical skills and medical technologies in safe simulated environments.'

Pam Boyers, PhD, associate vice chancellor for clinical simulation and iEXCEL

Located on UNMC's Omaha campus, the Davis Global Center serves as the hub for a statewide network of interconnected education centers for faculty in Scottsbluff, Kearney, Norfolk and Lincoln to promote experiential and interactive training opportunities.

"Simulated training improves human performance and ultimately patient care because it enables health care professionals at all levels of training to collaborate as teams and master clinical skills and medical technologies in safe simulated environments," said Pam Boyers, PhD, associate vice chancellor for clinical simulation and iEXCEL. "At the same time, the facility's unique design promotes interdisciplinary collaboration, team training and the ability to practice the transfer of care throughout the current health care system."

iEXCEL also promotes and fosters synergistic relationships between industry, academia, government, military and the community, Dr. Boyers said. Such collaborations yield mutual learning and grant opportunities, specialized training activities, AR/VR and holographic content creation, and new and enhanced products and services.

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Attendees watch as Pam Boyers, PhD, associate vice chancellor for clinical simulation and iEXCEL, delivers a message from the three-story high SONY Infinity Wall.

The current pandemic, she said, already has highlighted the tremendous value of the Davis Global Center. This extraordinary facility with its technology, special design and sufficient space has allowed the medical center to continue providing vital simulation training at a time when it has been most needed.

The 192,000-gross-square-foot building became fully operational in early 2020 and was immediately thrust into the spotlight when the National Quarantine Unit housed and monitored guests from the Diamond Princess cruise ship The 20-bed quarantine unit -- the only designated federal quarantine unit in the country -- is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Training, Simulation & Quarantine Center.

"With this purpose-built facility and the synergies between iEXCEL and the Global Center for Health Security, we're able to systematically help support the federal government and other agencies that need to train health care professionals as well as quarantine individuals with high-risk exposures," said Chris Kratochvil, MD, executive director of the Global Center for Health Security. "We are all grateful to have a facility such as this that focuses upon safety for individuals as well as communities -- and especially our health care professionals who take care of our patients each day."

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From left, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, University of Nebraska President Ted Carter, Nebraska Medicine CEO James Linder, MD, UNMC and University of Nebraska at Omaha Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, Rep. Don Bacon and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry attended Tuesday's event.

What others are saying

"When we learned of the way in which this building and its pivotal teaching techniques would influence the future of medical training, it seemed like a natural fit to honor our grandparents. We believe that both Edwin and Dorothy would be proud to provide the support for this transformational center influencing and shaping future medical leaders."
-Lee Seemann Jr., on behalf of the Dorothy B. Davis Foundation

"U.S. Strategic Command is fortunate to be a partner in the National Strategic Research Institute and with the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The partnership between NSRI, UNMC and STRATCOM is vital to keep our competitive advantage in the dynamic global environment we live in. My command relies on organizations like the NSRI and UNMC to help approach problems and challenges through a different lens. The Davis Global Center, and the iEXCEL program in particular opens doors for more than medical advancements. So I'm eager to see the full potential as the Davis Global Center fosters growth and capabilities well into the future."
-Admiral Charles "Chas" Richard, commander, U.S. Strategic Command

"I want to thank UNMC for being such a terrific partner with ASPR and HHS. The work you do in Omaha improves the entire country's level of readiness.
-Robert Kadlec, M.D., assistant secretary for preparedness and response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

"The first time Dr. Gold had me come down, I saw some amazing things. I saw the first floor Global Center for Health Security. I saw preparing for dealing with biomedical challenges. I saw the development of quarantine facilities, six beds there, quarantines for 20, all the structure that had to be there to begin to deal with these kinds of problems as you come through. I saw the understanding of biomedical challenges. And then he took me upstairs and I saw what is now called iEXCEL. It was the integration of virtual technologies and high computing technologies to allow not just surgeons to more effectively train and more effectively conduct surgeries but to understand the future of technology in the medical community. All of that is coming to fruition in the together in Davis Global Center. That's just another example of the special place that is Nebraska, the special place that is the Omaha community."
-Gen. John E. Hyten, vice chair, Joint Chiefs of Staff

"I toured the Davis Global Center when it was under construction, and I am impressed by its state-of-the-art technology and equipment. From treating Ebola to COVID-19, UNMC is a leader in public health. Congratulations to the university on the opening of this new facility that will make major strides in the area of patient care."
-U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer

"Today we reaffirm that UNMC is indeed the epicenter, the world's best when it comes to dealing with pandemic readiness, pandemic response and instruction. We're very proud of that. We can't say it enough that the University of Nebraska is vitally important to the state of Nebraska."
-U.S. Congressman Don Bacon

"The University of Nebraska Medical Center is now the nation's, and soon a global, leader in infectious disease and many other categories of disease research and education. That happens because there is a vision and a team of committed leaders -- state, federal and local -- who pull together to overcome obstacles to keep our national health security sound."
-U.S. Congressman Jeff Fortenberry

"This center is a fantastic public-private partnership that will help further and grow our state and keep Nebraska healthy. Thank you to the donors who helped make this possible. I am so pleased to have this facility right here in Nebraska. This facility will transform the way our health professionals train and learn. It is also another example of Nebraska's leadership on the nation and world stage in the fields of health care and technology."
-Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts

"The Davis Global Center elevates emergency response, medical education, training and research to unprecedented levels. As a former nurse, trained in cardiovascular critical care, patient care must always be at the forefront of training. The iEXCEL program offers unmatched innovative technologies to train and prepare health professionals for the future. The city of Omaha is proud of our excellent partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, especially as health care and health education grow as important sectors of Omaha's diverse and strong economy."
-Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert

"I was honored to sponsor the legislation that brought 25 million public dollars to this project. UNMC shared a vision and the desire to take medical education at UNMC, across Nebraska and around the world to a higher level. . . . Thank you to all the private donors for catching the vision to support the idea. This will place UNMC and the State of Nebraska at the forefront of medical education and research for many years to come. All Nebraskans will benefit from the superb training of medical professionals across the state."
-Nebraska Sen. Robert Hilkemann

"I could not be more proud to have sponsored legislation to fund UNMC's iEXCEL program. This next-generation technology will bring UNMC's state-of-the-art training to the Panhandle and across Nebraska. Thanks to the taxpayers, private donors and all who brought this project to life. I cannot wait to see how it impacts the students and patients of our great state."
-Nebraska Sen. John Stinner, chairman of the appropriations committee

"Today UNMC and the University of Nebraska take another step toward global leadership in health education, research and patient care. The opening of the Davis Global Center is one more signal to the world that our university is the epicenter for innovative student learning and preparedness to meet the world's most urgent health challenges. On behalf of the NU system, I extend our deepest gratitude to all of the public and private partners who made this day possible."
-University of Nebraska President Ted Carter

"We open the Davis Global Center at a critical moment in our history. This year has taught us that threats to our health and security are complex and continually changing. The Davis Global Center gives us, as Nebraskans, the opportunity to be the leading problem-solvers - not just for our state, but the world. This is a truly transformative facility, and I couldn't be more proud that the future of health care is being built right here in Nebraska."
-Jim Pillen, DVM, chair, University of Nebraska Board of Regents

"The Davis Global Center is the most transformative project for UNMC, Nebraska Medicine and the state in my career. We can train our students and practitioners in ways that could not previously be imagined. Simulation and visualization technology literally allow our physicians to 'practice' a procedure dozens of times before caring for a patient. This advances safety and efficiency. The research and commercial opportunities created by the center are exciting and will distinguish UNMC nationally."
-James Linder, MD, chief executive officer, Nebraska Medicine

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