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August 9, 2023

Added medical-student housing aims to advance MDI Hospital’s education program

rendering of building Courtesy / Mount Desert Island Hospital New construction is underway in Bar Harbor for Mount Desert Island Hospital’s Kogod Center for Medical Education.

New construction is underway on Main Street in Bar Harbor for a residence that may advance Mount Desert Island Hospital’s medical education program and partnerships.

The Kogod Center for Medical Education will provide eight rooms to house medical education students and residents who come to MDI Hospital for their rural rotations. 

The building, which is being constructed with green technology and sustainability, will also have dining and meeting spaces.

The $3 million cost of construction was funded by Arlene and Robert Kogod, who hail from the Washington, D.C., area, and own a home on Mount Desert Island. The couple have philanthropic interests in education, health care and the arts, and are longtime supporters of MDI Hospital.

“The Kogod family recognized early that medical students and residents were key to the hospital's strategic vision to train providers in rural medicine and illuminate the complexity of caring compassionately for the community,” the hospital’s president and CEO, Christina Maguire, told Mainebiz. 

She continued, “Medical education at MDI Hospital supports our long-term recruitment and retention goals as we aim to bring the next generation of healthcare providers to MDI to serve our mission. The foresight and exceptional generosity of the Kogod family will make a huge impact on every community member who steps through our doors in need of care.”

The building — 5,482 square feet on two stories — was designed by Mike Sealander of Sealander Architects. The general contractor is E.L. Shea Inc. Both firms are based in Ellsworth.

The groundbreaking was held last summer and it’s expected the building will be completed in early 2024.

The hospital hosts students and residents from the University of New England, which has campuses in Portland and Biddeford, College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor and Maine Medical Center, as well as the University of Pennsylvania, Tufts University, Brown University, Albany Medical College and the University of Pittsburgh.

Students stay with the hospital from a few weeks to a few months, completing rotations and clerkships in various areas. 

With housing in short supply on Mount Desert Island, the new building aims to take some of the strain off the rental market by providing students and residents with their own housing, a hospital spokesperson told Mainebiz.

Medical education at the hospital has resulted in an increase in health care readiness and responsiveness and has also proven central to staff recruitment. 

Since 2005, MDI Hospital has offered a nationally accredited, continuing medical education program. In 2010, the program began a collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania Health System, also called Penn Medicine, which has resulted in reciprocal staff exchanges and professional education sessions.

In 2011, MDI Hospital’s and Penn Medicine established a teaching partnership that has evolved into a model for urban-rural partnerships. To date, the program has logged more than 2,600 hours of staff exchanges between the hospitals.

Now other universities are engaging with MDI, seeking to include their aspiring caregivers in the hospital’s medical education program. The Kogod Center was designed to be a factor in the program’s success.

The downtown Bar Harbor site was chosen because it sits directly next to the main hospital campus and will provide renewed visibility to the hospital from Main Street.

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