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University of Michigan Clinical Simulation Center earns distinguished endorsement


ANN ARBOR, MI – The University of Michigan Medical School’s Clinical Simulation Center has been awarded accreditation as a Level 1 Comprehensive Education Institute by the American College of Surgeons. This is the highest level of accreditation and is only awarded to those institutions that offer state-of-the-art surgical education to surgeons, surgical residents and members of surgical teams.

The accreditation was awarded following a comprehensive evaluation of the Clinical Simulation Center’s programs, including documentation of educational programs, evaluations, equipment, facilities, personnel, management and finances. The process also included a site survey.

“The Clinical Simulation Center is a national model for its curricula, learning metrics and interdisciplinary governance. Everyone involved with the CSC should be commended for achieving this prestigious endorsement,” says James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., U-M Medical School dean designate and the Lyle C. Roll Professor of Medicine.

“Joining this ACS network, which includes a number of other well-established simulation centers, takes us to the next level of medical education leadership. Network members share a common mission to develop guidelines and metrics that assure development of clinical skills using simulation and then to transfer these skills to the excellent care of our patients,” says Paul G. Gauger, M.D., CSC executive director and associate professor of surgery and medical education.

Through the use of dynamic teaching tools, faculty at the CSC provide risk-free, hands-on educational programs for physicians, residents, medical students, nurses and other clinical personnel. Research on the development, maintenance and transfer of procedural skills from simulation to patient care is a major component of the Simulation Center’s mission.

“Since it started three years ago, the Clinical Simulation Center has rapidly become integral to educating our residents and nurses and promoting patient safety. The ACS accreditation is one more validation of this important resource for our medical community,” says Tony Denton, M.H.A., J.D., chief operating officer and senior associate director of the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers.

“Medical education has traditionally been accomplished through an apprenticeship model, where physicians-in-training develop skills over time based on what patient conditions present in the clinic while the trainee is on service. This leaves a measure of variability to what the trainee develops competency to perform. The use of simulation in medical education allows us to have some control over what specific medical procedures a trainee must complete during training, as well as the opportunity to assess competency in a controlled environment. This has created a new model where training takes place at-will so that teaching, learning and assessment are structured to optimize the transfer of skills to the patient environment, in a manner that is extremely safe for the patient, “explains Pamela Andreatta, Ed.D., M.F.A., M.A., CSC director and assistant professor of medical education.

“We are excited and honored that the CSC has merited this distinguished recognition. It is a reflection on the uniquely collaborative nature of how we conduct the CSC and the emphasis we place on quality,” Andreatta says.

The CSC is unusual in that its structure supports collaboration across all aspects of CSC operations, including administrative, educational, clinical and technical expertise. Governance is shared as well, with the involvement of all member clinical departments within the U-M Health System.

The U-M Clinical Simulation Center provides training for basic skills, procedures and the use of innovative technology. It logged in 22,177 instructional hours between August 2005 and October 2006. Plans for substantially expanding it are underway, including the addition of more team training capability. Ultimately, the CSC will be a world class facility housed in a new education complex that is being planned for the medical campus.

The ACS Accredited Educational Institutes is a national network that offers a spectrum of surgical educational opportunities, with a focus on new procedures and emerging technologies. To date, there are 13 such accredited institutes.

Written by: Mary Beth Reilly


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