JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Saying they were motivated by their commitment to better the Jacksonville community and improve the lives of its citizens, Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver have donated $7 million to the new multidisciplinary simulation center at the Mayo Clinic.

The center will be named "J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Simulation Center" and is expected to open early 2013.

This gift is the latest of several gifts the Weavers have given to various Jacksonville health-related organizations with a goal of improving access, quality of health care and collaboration in the community.

The Weavers donated $500,000 to Mayo's new hospital in 2005 and have provided annual gifts through the Jaguars and the Weaver Family Foundation supporting the Pink Hats project for breast cancer research.

The Weavers, former owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars who are known for their philanthropy, say their gift is meant to promote high-quality patient care, education and research and that the benefits of Mayo's simulation center should be shared with the entire community.

"Wayne and I believe that simulation training will have a tremendous impact on improving the overall quality of health care in Jacksonville," Delores Weaver said. "It's a tremendous resource that physicians and other health care professionals can use to improve their skills and share best practices. We're excited to be a part of Mayo Clinic's simulation center and we look forward to seeing various organizations and the community sharing this resource and benefiting from Mayo Clinic's expertise."

Simulation training is becoming more prevalent in medical education and is deemed to be very effective. Recent advancements in technology, the advent of robotic surgery, and innovations in the delivery of education are fostering the evolution of simulation in medicine.

Simulation encompasses a variety of approaches from allowing surgeons to practice fundamentals and master new techniques, to hospitalist physicians and nursing staff undergoing team training, to other healthcare staff providing patient assessments using standardized patients. Mayo's new simulation center will offer these experiences in a medical theater environment, where learners can practice all the scenarios with experienced faculty in a space that replicates real life.

"The age of simulation training is here, and studies show its enormous potential for improving the quality and safety of patient care, as well as its utility for innovation," says William Rupp, M.D., chief executive officer of Mayo Clinic in Florida. "We are excited to pursue this new addition for our patients and the community. We are especially grateful for the support of the Weavers and other benefactors whose philanthropy made this center a reality."

The center is part of a two-story addition to the Vincent A. Stabile Building and will initially occupy 9,600 square feet. The space will include a designated area for procedural/surgical task trainers, an operating room, intensive care unit, hospital and outpatient exam rooms, an emergency medicine suite, and classroom/debriefing space, as well as extensive audiovisual equipment so that training scenarios can be recorded and reviewed.

Other amenities include a 60-seat learning center that will accommodate large-team training exercises as well as educational programs for external organizations. It will also link with Mayo Clinic's simulation centers in Rochester, Minn., and Phoenix, Ariz,, creating one of the largest medical simulation programs in the nation.