Southwest Florida’s gleaming Tampa is topping planners’ lists as a destination with the right prescription for successful medical group and association meetings.
The bayside city offers a concentration of resources across multiple specialties with dozens of accreditations in all health care fields. Tampa has earned the moniker as “Medical Facility Capital of the Southeast,” hosting many top-rated facilities including Shriners Hospitals for Children, Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute, Laser Spine Institute, James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and Busch Gardens Animal Care Center.
One significant draw to Tampa for medical groups is the University of South Florida’s Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation, known better as CAMLS. Completed in 2012, CAMLS is one of the world’s largest free-standing simulation facility exclusively dedicated to training health care professionals.
“What makes CAMLS so unique is it is a 90,000-sq.-ft. stand-alone, three-story surgical skills health care simulation center in the heart of downtown,” says Paul W. Ayres, director of sales, marketing and business development for CAMLS. “We are only 7 miles from Tampa International Airport, across the street from Tampa Convention Center, and surrounded by hotels and all of downtown’s amenities.”
Ayres notes CAMLS is specifically designed for group training and education. The center offers resources including a virtual hospital and exam rooms, virtual reality simulators, high-fidelity human simulators and more than 250 actors trained as standardized patients, as well as a comprehensive array of general surgical equipment including booms and towers, in-house cadavers and an on-site vivarium.
The facility also has 25,000 square feet of flex-meeting space, conference and classroom facilities, including a 200-person, semicircular tiered auditorium equipped with hard-wired, global teleconferencing capabilities as well as Apple TV, Wi-Fi direct connections and a state-of-the-art audience response system that enables live, interactive polling.
CAMLS has recently hosted groups such as the Society of Gynecologic Oncology, which used the facility for training in laparoscopic procedures and robotics training, and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which conducted best-practice training. Last fall, Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists held its annual meeting at CAMLS, taking advantage of the training facilities on-site.
“Having the actual clinical-grade settings is tremendously important for medical education and training,” says Ayers. “Groups like that they can use their own experts and educators in our facility or work with us to identify area resources to support their training needs.”