Providence Park Hospital expands surgical specialty training at facility in Novi, Mich.

June 15, 2015

Clinicians at work in a 14-station lab that is part of the Van Elslander Surgical Innovation Center at Providence Park Hospital in Novi, Mich.

A new surgical training facility at Providence Park Hospital in Novi, Mich., builds on a long-standing affiliation with the Michigan Ear Institute.

"This distinguishes us as a teaching facility," Peter Karadjoff, president of Providence Park, said of the Van Elslander Surgical Innovation Center, which opened earlier this year. "There's no center like this in the Midwest, and only a handful in the country. This is something that physicians out there seeking knowledge are really going to value."

Dr. Michael LaRouere, a neurotologic surgeon with the Michigan Ear Institute, heads the otology/neurotology and skull-base surgery fellowship program based at Providence Park. He said that with two fellows entering the two-year program each year, the program is one of the larger otology and neurotology fellowship programs in the country.

The fellows and neurotologists have been the first to make use of the new $3.5 million center, LaRouere said. The facility accommodates lectures, demonstrations and hands-on training. It includes a 14-station lab to train surgeons on new devices and techniques and has a cadaver storage facility. Surgeons refine techniques including cochlear implant surgery and temporal bone procedures on cadavers, LaRouere said. In the 50-seat auditorium, doctors will learn by viewing live surgeries via video links to operating rooms elsewhere on the Providence Park campus. Eventually, videos of operations could be shared with surgeons at facilities around the world, LaRouere said.


LaRouere and his colleagues at the institute treat patients medically and surgically to restore hearing. They repair damaged facial nerves and address balance disorders. The eight-surgeon practice also removes acoustic neuromas, which originate in the inner ear and can push on the brain stem and cerebellum.

The Michigan Ear Institute relocated from Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich., to Providence Park six years ago when the new hospital campus opened in Novi. The institute has been training fellows and practicing surgeons for 28 years. Doctors from six continents have participated in one-week training courses at the smaller predecessor laboratory facility at Providence Hospital, LaRouere said.

The new surgical training facility at Providence Park is larger and so provides the opportunity to expand surgical training in state-of-the-art facilities, and it opens up the opportunity for training in other surgical specialties.

Neurosurgery residents at Providence Park already are using the new lab. Dr. Ryan Barrett, head of that residency program, said in the future his colleagues at Michigan Spine & Brain Surgeons will use the facilities to train practicing surgeons in minimally invasive spine surgery techniques.

The surgical innovation center took about a decade from idea to dedication, held back mostly by funding, but that hurdle was surmounted when the hospital drew on a previous donation that local philanthropist Art Van Elslander had made to support a neurosurgery center, said Brian Taylor, a spokesman for St. John Providence, Providence Park's regional parent.


Karadjoff said that operating expenses at the surgical training center should be covered by renting the facility to medical device companies offering training on their products.

The facility was designed with input from surgeons at the Michigan Ear Institute and other local surgeons and Platinum Training, a Henderson, Nev.-based company that provides training in medical devices and surgery technology at several medical labs around the country. Working out the needs and features of the Providence Park site took about a year and a half of consultation.

The hospital pays Platinum to manage daily operations of the surgical training center, with one full-time employee on site and part-timers as needed. Platinum also deals directly with equipment and device makers to set up training workshops. Providence Park hopes to offer more programming of its own in the future.

"It's going to be a good marriage. They need our technical assistance, and we love being in a hospital environment," said Chuck Oddo, president of Platinum. "When a doctor leaves (a training session) with more confidence, we've done our job."

Copyright © 2015 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Copyright © 2015 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.