(From left) Mount Desert Island Hospital President/CEO Chrissi Maguire, Stuart Kogod, Bob Kogod, Dr. Julian Kuffler, Lauren Kogod, Dr. Nate Donaldson and Dr. Patricia Hand celebrate the construction of the Kogod Center for Medical Education by partaking in the ceremonial shoveling of dirt during the groundbreaking event Aug. 18. ISLANDER PHOTO BY VICTORIA DECOSTER

MDI Hospital breaks ground for education/housing center

BAR HARBOR — Mount Desert Island Hospital broke ground on a new education and housing center during a ceremony Aug. 18.  

Once completed, the Kogod Center for Medical Education will have dedicated seminar space and accommodate more than 40 medical students and residents learning about rural community-based health care.  

“It will inspire the next generation of caregivers that will come back and change the way health care is delivered on MDI,” said Mount Desert Island Hospital President and CEO Chrissi Maguire.  

The Kogod Center advances a first-of-its-kind initiative started 10 years ago at the University of Pennsylvania to immerse medical students from urban and major hub institutions into the world of rural health care.  

“Until about four years ago, I thought the only medicine was big academic institutions,” said Dr. Rebekah Villarreal, “and then I did a rotation in a little town in Maine and Bar Harbor at MDI Hospital. 

“For the first time, I began to wonder ‘what if’ about community medicine?”  

After her rotation here, Villarreal moved from Philadelphia to work at the hospital where she now directs the Behavioral Health Center. 

Redering of Kogod Center for Medical Education.

Today, MDI’s Medical Education program has expanded to include students from Tufts University, University of New England, Brown University and more.  

“Now I get to welcome students from those big cities in those big institutions and share with them the lessons I’m still learning about community medicine,” Villarreal said. 

The groundbreaking ceremony on 294 Main St. hosted Bob and Arlene Kogod and family, who made the center possible. Their latest donation follows up 20 years of philanthropic support to the hospital’s Annual Fund.  

“There is currently a gaping deficiency of doctors locally and nationally who are trained in the needs particular to rural medicine,” said Stuart Kogod, son of Bob and Arlene. “Our MDI Hospital has taken the lead on this serious issue by piloting and now running a training program of the highest quality. 

“The missing piece to the program on this housing-starved island is residences for the trainees.” 

According to the hospital, the building’s architecture incorporates the latest green technology. Construction is expected to start in September and will take a year to complete.  

The Kogod Center is the first part of a major renovation for the hospital campus. Completed upgrades, which will take between two and five years, include a Main Street entrance, tripling of emergency services and increased parking.  

“[The hospital] will change. And change means vibrancy. And change means vitality,” Maguire said. “We embrace change, and we will lead how rural medicine is delivered and we will set the standard by which others measure medical education.”  

Victoria DeCoster

Victoria DeCoster

Victoria DeCoster covers the Bar Harbor area including town boards and committees. She recently moved to the island after graduating from Syracuse University last year. Contact Victoria with tips and story ideas at [email protected].

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