By BECKY GILLETTE
The Madison County Economic Development Authority opened a unique business center designed for health care companies about a year ago called the Mississippi Biomedical Business Collaboratory. The 60,000-square-foot building in Canton that was previously a training facility for Nissan was converted to attract health care companies together in a building where they could share ideas and prosper.
MCEDA Executive Director Tim Coursey said the Collaboratory is already fulfilling its intention to encourage biomed companies to bring their ideas and innovations to Madison County.
“The reason we focused on biomed is that it is a great sector with sustainable, high-paying jobs,” Coursey said. “Our biomed sector is rather small in Mississippi compared to other states. We wanted to get in the game. In creating the jobs of the future, sometimes you have to step into a little different world than is your typical wheel house. That is what we have done here.”
Coursey said that, unlike a general business incubator, the businesses operating within the Collaboratory all have one primary focus, and that’s health care. Because of the design of the building, relationships and growth are natural.
“It is just the beginning of a bright and limitless future for health-care focused businesses in Madison County,” he said.
There are currently 50 employees and eight businesses operating in the Collaboratory, including two nonprofits. One of the most unique is the Global Training Institute, a veteran-owned, hands-on surgical simulation lab and training center which provides a broad spectrum of advanced, specialized training across four sectors: health care professionals, law enforcement officers, fire service/first responders and military personnel.
“The mission of the institute is to provide state-of-the-art educational experiences which promote quality, safety and competency among these professions,” Coursey said. “The institute provides such courses as accident and emergency radiology, advanced suturing, hospital and emergency procedures, and more. This is also a place where manufacturers of medical devices can come to train doctors on new equipment and techniques. We anticipate having doctors from all over the country and around the world come to this facility.”
Chris Powe, Ph.D., owner and president of the Global Training Institute, said the Collaboratory is a very unique environment that allows health-care related businesses to develop strong relationships and share ideas.
“It creates a lot of opportunities,” Powe said. “That is a real value to me, the proximity with companies that don’t normally have a dialogue.”
Powe said medical device companies use the laboratories to train physicians. There have been more than 50 surgeons trained at the center. And the institute has developed beyond the health-care training initially envisioned by also being used to train law enforcement and military officers. For example, recently there was an exercise with a simulation of an active shooter scenario that resulted in an officer being shot.
Powe said there isn’t another private simulation center in Mississippi, and only four in the entire country.
“It provides greater flexibility in how the training is delivered,” he said. “The response has been huge. Since September, it has blown wide open.”
The medical training simulations are done on a mannequin or a cadaver. Powe said it is similar to the environment in a medical school except they are not training medical students, but people who have graduated and have been practicing in different medical fields for many years.
The institute is also helping train emergency medical service workers.
“It is doing a lot for the way our emergency care is provided in the State of Mississippi,” Coursey said. “They are being trained at the highest level possible. We are real proud of it. The more medical personnel we train, the better health care is for you and me. In addition to wanting to provide the best care, health-care providers are now paid by patient outcomes. Did they cure you or stabilize you? So, through training you increase your ability to create better outcomes for the patient and do the best possible for patient-based outcome reimbursements.”
Another tenant is TelehealthOne, which Coursey said is growing rapidly. The Mississippi Association for Nurse Practitioners has an office there, and does simulations at the training facility. Another company, MedSouth, provides training for flight paramedics and flight nurses.
Their newest tenant is Hope Home Orthotics and Prosthetics Enterprises operated by Steve Lindsley, an Iraq war veteran who volunteered during his off time in Iraq to make prosthetics for injured Iraqis.
Coursey said the goal was to create 100 jobs in three years and they are over half the way there.
Coursey said part of what has attracted new businesses is word-of-mouth referrals from other companies located at the Collaboratory. Coursey said it also helps that Gov. Phil Bryant and the Mississippi Legislature created the health zone initiatives that provide ad valorem tax exemption and accelerated depreciation on capital purchases. The Collaboratory also received grant funding from the state for some of the renovations.
For more information about the Collaboratory, contact Coursey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (601) 605-8541.
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