CA: Medical researcher may grow in Crosstown
A medical nonprofit that uses donated human cadavers to teach physicians the latest surgery techniques seeks permission to expand one of its Crosstown buildings.
The Medical Education and Research Institute will go before the Land Use Control Board on Feb. 9 for a special use permit. MERI has owned the brick building at 1381 Madison since 2009, using it for data storage and record-keeping.
Now MERI wants to also use the building — standing between the American Red Cross and a corner convenience store — for its program of receiving bodies willed by donors. It’s called the Genesis Program.
The building on a half-acre is zoned commercial mixed use, and MERI will need a special use permit for a medical office use.
The organization’s letter of intent states its request is to “allow a medical education facility in (commercial mixed use) … with R&D and associated donor storage.”
MERI’s headquarters building is a block south, just across Monroe, at 44 S. Cleveland. The organization, supported by the Baptist and Methodist hospital systems as well as Semmes-Murphey Neurologic & Spine Institute, was founded 22 years ago.
The amount of work for the organization has been growing and so has the staff, said Diana Kelly, manager for institutional development. Forty-four people work there now.
The zoning application notes that the 1381 Madison building is within the Medical Overlay District, and that the proposed new use “meets the spirit and intent” of the medical zoning district.
The program using donor-willed bodies is part of MERI’s work to replicate the hospital operating room environment. The organization states that it treats each donor body as it would a living patient.
Medical device companies often use MERI’s services to test their products and to train surgeons.