Gerald L. Francis Center: Home of Elon’s School of Health Sciences

Center is the home of Elon’s School of Health Sciences and includes 50,000 square feet of interprofessional learning space for physical therapy, physician assistant studies and nursing students. The facility is named to honor Executive Vice President Emeritus Gerald L. Francis, who dedicated his entire academic career to Elon.

The first floor includes a new suite with augmented, virtual and and mixed reality technology, opening the door to a new a world in the education of health care practitioners. The new technology allows instructors to develop complete scenarios in low-stake environments for students to practice and grow confidence and skills in high-pressure situations. In addition, there are classrooms, skills, shared research, human donor anatomy and osteology labs, locker rooms, a fitness center, numerous student common spaces and study and practice rooms. Among human the performance, neuroscience, anthropometry, electrophysiology and metabolic research spaces on the first floor is a state-of-the-art biomechanics lab.

The second floor of the Francis Center is dedicated to our School of Health Sciences Interprofessional Simulation Center, where students in all programs will practice hands-on skills. It’s equipped with multiple beds and designed to provide students with the ability to practice health care techniques on high- and low-fidelity manikins, standardized patients and clients from the local community using recording equipment in a variety of settings.

The center includes the clinical skills and the simulation labs. The clinical skills lab has seven beds separated by curtains and houses most of the manikins. The manikins vary in age from infant to adult and provide numerous capabilities, including childbirth.

In the simulation lab, there’s a home health care open concept area comprised of a kitchenette, small living room and small bedroom. This area is dedicated to preparing students for working in a patient’s home. Surrounding the home health care area are seven clinical rooms, five of them are standard clinic rooms, one is set up to resemble an ICU and the other is a hospital room.

The Francis Center is undergoing a four-phase renovation, including an expansion that will result in a total of 100,000 square feet of space for the school’s three programs. Two of the four phases are completed. A dedicated student entrance, re-imagined common spaces to encourage collaboration, new classrooms, skills labs and group study rooms are part of the renovations to be completed fall 2023. The last phase of the expansion, which will be completed summer 2024, will add offices for nursing faculty.

In addition to the multitude of resources within the Francis Center, students in the School of Health Sciences enjoy access to the full array of learning and community spaces just a short walk away on main campus, including the Koenigsberger Learning Center, Belk Library, Moseley Student Center, Koury Athletic Center and multiple dining facilities.