Drexel Tower Health Building

A New Medical Campus in West Reading

Drexel Tower Health Building

Drexel University College of Medicine at Tower Health occupies the first four floors of a new six-story, 180,000-square-foot building, which was developed with Equus Capital Partners and the SLAM Collaborative architecture firm. Credit Paul Burk Photography Courtesy SLAM Collaborative

In August 2021, 40 first-year medical students arrived at the College of Medicine’s new four-year regional medical campus in West Reading, 60 miles west of Philadelphia.

The grand opening began a fresh chapter for the College of Medicine, whose predecessor institutions — Hahnemann Medical College and the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania — were among the first in the world to train homeopathic doctors and women physicians.

The modern medical education tower bears no resemblance to the quaint stone building on Arch Street in Philadelphia where the College of Medicine’s forebear institutions opened in the mid-1800s. But like the pioneering students of that era, these future physicians will be steeped in a mission of health care equity, inspired by a curriculum that emphasizes the social determinants of health.

West Reading medical students will study the same outstanding curriculum as their peers on the Queen Lane Campus in Philadelphia, under the tutelage of expert faculty mentors. They will engage with the regional community through lectures and reflective activities that will give them insights to tackle health care disparities and provide trauma-informed, community-based care. In their third and fourth year, they will embark on clinical rotations at Tower Health’s flagship Reading Hospital, the largest hospital between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, to help care for a diverse and underserved community.

Drexel College of Medicine Labs
Drexel College of Medicine Lobby
Drexel College of Medicine Classroom

1) LABS: Students hone clinical skills in advanced simulation and anatomy labs, and practice diagnostic and interpersonal communication skills in simulated patient rooms.
2) LOBBY: A monumental lobby connects the first and second floors, where there is also outdoor seating overlooking the valley.
3) CLASSROOMS: Multiple classroom and flex spaces, offices, lounges and small-group rooms are located throughout the building. The tiered, team-based learning space on the first floor (right) accommodates 120 students.

Drexel College of Medicine History

4) HISTORY: A mural drawn from the college’s archives and special collections links the new building to its predecessor institutions: the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, the Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann.

College of Medicine Building

5) SITE: The building is located on a promontory above the Schuylkill River, on the opposite bank from Reading and less than a mile from Reading Hospital. The building’s shape follows the curve of railroad tracks, while the vertical fins on the building façade mimic the pattern and flow of the river below.

College of Medicine Community
College of Medicine Amenities
College of Medicine Instruction

6) COMMUNITY: During orientation week, the incoming class donned white coats and toured public art and murals in downtown West Reading with a local art teacher. Afterward, they joined members of the community in painting a 45-foot-tall mural sponsored by a Berks County suicide prevention campaign.
7) AMENITIES: Activities and services include lounge spaces, a fitness center, movement studio, library, game room and café space.
8) INSTRUCTION: Students in an Art in Medicine class gain a unique perspective on anatomy by observing bone models.

Drexel University College of Medicine at Tower Health opened its doors last summer to its first cohort of medical students, launching a proud new chapter in the college’s 174-year history.