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Idaho State University

ISU’s health care mission: Summer training to occur in new bioskills lab and governor announces private medical school at ISU-Meridian

By Chris Gabettas |

Health practitioners can get training in new surgical and medical techniques without leaving Idaho, thanks to completion of the new Bioskills Learning Laboratory at Idaho State University-Meridian.

ISU’s health care mission: Summer training to occur in new bioskills lab and governor announces private medical school at ISU-Meridian

The laboratory is one of four labs located in the new L.S. and Aline Skaggs Treasure Valley Anatomy and Physiology complex located in the building’s east wing.

“The bioskills lab is geared toward professional education” with opportunities for college and high school students to observe, said lab specialist and bioskills supervisor Noah Harper.

The first major event is set for early summer when up to 300 doctors, nurses, paramedics, emergency medical technicians and rural health care providers will train in intraosseous infusion—a process of injecting fluids and medication directly into bone marrow when intravenous access is not feasible, according to Harper and Lorinda Smith, who manages the L.S. Skaggs anatomy and physiology complex.

Completion of the Bioskills Learning Laboratory comes on the heels of Gov. Butch Otter’s Feb. 25 announcement that private investors have selected ISU-Meridian as the site for the proposed four-year Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine.

At a news conference flanked by ISU President Arthur Vailas, community, state and ICOM leaders, Otter called the public-private partnership “a golden opportunity” to help address Idaho’s shortage of primary care physicians and attract more Idaho students into health-related fields.

ICOM is seeking accreditation through the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation with the first class of 150 students to begin in 2018.  Read more about ICOM, the state’s need for primary care physicians, and the proposed medical school’s impact on the Gem State at

Meantime, ICOM and ISU leaders look forward to the public-private partnership, sanctioned by the Idaho State Board of Education and Idaho Department of Commerce.

“This partnership will benefit the state and contribute to ISU’s health-care mission, core themes and strategic plan. We are excited to have a strong partner who will create future opportunities for our faculty, staff and students,” said Vailas.

Hasty, who has toured the ISU-Meridian facility, calls the Bioskills Lab an “amazing place for learners” and of great value to ICOM faculty and students.

“I feel that the best learning resources are those that are well-used and I know this will be one such example," he said.

The 1500-square foot Bioskills Learning Laboratory contains eight down-draft tables equipped with LED lights, USB ports and high-definition monitors for optimal learning.

 “With the push of a button, we can project what is happening at one particular station to every monitor in the lab,” said Harper.

Rather than working with embalmed tissue as is done in the adjacent cadaver lab, learners in the bioskills lab will use fresh specimens to mimic the experience of working on live tissue—vital to learning new surgical techniques and the use of new medical devices.

“We’re really excited about the way this has come together,” said Smith.