The University of South Alabama will be purchasing two new medical robots, thanks to funds approved by the foundation board.
The USA foundation board approved $4.6 million to the university. Around $1.7 million of the total funds will be used toward two DaVinci surgical robotics systems. Health officials at the university say the systems would have a major impact on the school's medical center.
The medical center will receive one of DaVinci's new Xi models, and the USA Children's and Women's Hospital also will get a Xi to replace its older Si model.
"This is equipment that is much needed," says Dr. John V. Marymont, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine at USA. He says these systems have become "more and more the standard of care."
"It also has a huge component in education," Marymont explains, saying USA's medical school students need experience with such systems. "It's now becoming a requirement... to have robotic training," he says.
Dr. Michael Finan, director of the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, says the robots are not fully automatic, but are instead operated by a conventionally trained surgeon.
Allocations included $1,735,049 to the South Alabama Endowment. A foundation representative said that amount and a similar amount foundation leaders expect to approve at the next semi-annual meeting in June will pay for the two robots.
The foundation's semi-annual contributions totaled $4,609,556. It's spread across several dozen scholarship funds, professor endowments and support funds. In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the foundation gave a total of $9.6 million to the university.