New Montana medical training center will focus on rural health

A physician in scrubs in a hospital hallway
Longtime friends Pat Dudley and Ray Rogers didn’t consider any other location but their hometown to build the $35 million training center. (Getty/NanoStockk)

Butte, Montana, might sound like an unlikely place for a major medical training center, but its founders wouldn’t have it any other way.

Longtime friends Pat Dudley and Ray Rogers didn’t consider any other location but their hometown to build a $35 million training center that aims to boost healthcare in rural areas of the U.S., according to the Montana Standard.

The two men plan to open the Praxis Center for Innovative Learning in Butte, which they told the publication will be the country’s first independently owned, nonprofit medical simulation facility dedicated to rural healthcare. The center is expected to train 3,000 to 4,000 doctors, nurses, technicians, first-responders and other healthcare professionals each year.

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Dudley and Rogers, co-founders of the National Center for Health Care Informatics, plan to open a four-story complex in 2020 that will train healthcare professionals using high-tech mannequins, imaging simulators and virtual-reality settings and scenarios, the newspaper reported.

The center will serve as a place where rural practitioners can train, as hospitals that can’t afford their own high-tech training equipment will be able to send staff there.

Lt. Governor Mike Cooney said the center will lead to economic growth in the region and address educational shortcomings in Montana, ABC Fox Montana reported. "It will lead to healthier citizens, and happier and more satisfied healthcare workers," Conney said. "And it will help to attract and recruit qualified healthcare workers in rural areas all across the state.”

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