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BIDMC Unveils Center for Leading Edge Medical and Surgical Simulation Training

Health care students and professionals from all medical and surgical disciplines will benefit from simulation-based skills training in the Carl J. Shapiro Simulation and Skills Center (SASC) formally dedicated today at BIDMC.

BOSTON - Health care students and professionals from all medical and surgical disciplines will benefit from simulation-based skills training in the Carl J. Shapiro Simulation and Skills Center (SASC) formally dedicated today at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Located on the ground floor of the Shapiro Clinical Center, and supported by a generous gift from Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro, the SASC is one of the most comprehensive facilities of its type in the country.

"The Simulation and Skills Center embodies our philosophy of education at BIDMC," says Richard Schwartzstein, MD, vice president of education. "We strive to be the national leader in providing the best medical education. Our aim is to offer rich educational experiences with meaningful faculty supervision in a safe learning environment. The new center will help us achieve these goals."

The Center was the first in the nation to be visited and assessed by the American College of Surgeons, and is currently awaiting formal accreditation, a step that will make it the first Level I simulation facility in the United States. A focal point of the technologically advanced SASC is a mock operating room, equipped to re-create the environment of a real OR with the addition of sophisticated audiovisual equipment and polarized viewing windows. Nearby, a similar room replicates multiple clinical areas, such as an emergency room, intensive care unit or a medical/surgery floor.

Physicians, nurses, students and other members of the healthcare team practice on interactive mannequins that change blood pressure, pulse, and other physiological measures on cue, and diagnose and treat "virtual patients" that appear via video. Instructors' observations and information collected through advanced sensors and computer equipment enable faculty members to provide detailed feedback on students' performances.

Up to 65 learners can be accommodated in a large teleconference room with the capacity to receive live media feeds connected to four different operating room endosuites. It also uses computers for specialized educational and instructional content that includes tutorials for basic suturing, the Virtual Patient Program, and access to a comprehensive video library.

"Beth Israel Deaconess has taken care of four generations of our family, and this gift is one way we can give back so much to the hospital that has done so much. We are pleased to make this gift and to be a part of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's continued commitment to excellence in science, medicine and service to the community," says Carl Shapiro. "The Simulation and Skills Center will enable BIDMC to enhance its leadership role in using medical simulation and computer-based systems to provide students with realistic training opportunities in all medical disciplines."

SASC co-directors David Feinstein, MD and Daniel B. Jones, MD, FACS, bring years of expertise to the center. Feinstein ranks among the leading faculty at the Center for Medical Simulation in Cambridge while Jones is a leading advocate of simulation within the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and, in 2003, led the efforts by the Roberta and Stephen R. Weiner Department of Surgery to create the Minimally Invasive Surgical Skills Laboratory at the Carl J. Shapiro Institute for Education and Research.

"We want to impress on the BIDMC community that these resources, as well as our support with curricula and research, are available to learners of all levels and all departments," says Feinstein. He notes that since the ultimate goal of simulation training is to provide greater patient safety, "students and professionals can only benefit from practicing scenarios in simulation."

"In 2006 the surgical adage is no longer acceptable to 'see one, do one, teach one'," Jones says. "Today the expectation is practice, practice, practice and demonstrate proficiency, and BIDMC is leading this paradigm change in training and maintenance of skills."

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and ranks fourth in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.