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Simulation Center on Health Science Campus in progress

By Lindsay Mahaney
On December 5, 2012


Work is continuing on the University of Toledo’s Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center, which broke ground over the summer.

Mary Smith, senior associate dean for graduate medical education, said the center will be an innovative, safe learning environment.

“The principles behind this are to let people learn in a safe environment,” Smith said. “And if we make a mistake, which you know novice learners do, we can just reprogram the simulator.”

Jeffrey Gold, chancellor and executive vice president for biosciences and health affairs, said the center will help teach basic skills to students before they enter the field. The simulators, which are currently in use in other locations on campus, allow learners to practice surgical procedures.

“In previous days, learners used to get their experience at the bedside initially and sometimes at the patient’s expense,” said Gold. “Those days are over now.”

The center will house technology that places students in a real-life setting simulating a doctor visit. Participants must perform on a mock patient as they would a real patient.

Cristina Alvara, clinical simulation and education resident assistant, said the center will be valuable from a medical education standpoint. The new technologies being incorporated, such as iPads and virtual reality equipment, are a new form of learning the medical world needs to appreciate, she said.

“Our generation, this is the kind of language we use,” Alvara said. “You know, if you don’t know something what’s the first thing you do? You Google it.”

Alvara said the space will continue to grow when phase two of the IISC is completed, allowing more new technology to be included. One of the newest features in the system is a virtual reality simulator that lets students step into a three-dimensional setting where it appears they are actually performing surgery.

“We’re in 12,000 square feet right now,” Alvara said. “The new building is going to have approximately 60,000 square feet. With the three elements that we have down here, which is medical simulation, virtual reality, and of course the surgical component.”

Besides medical students, Gold said, the center can benefit nursing, pharmacy, engineering, visual performing arts, astronomy and other students.

“The technology and the software are tightly tied into engineering,” Gold said. “The technology that we’re using is very applicable in astronomy in the planetarium and other areas. We are working with the people from the museum to do visual learning and visual literacy work. There are just a number of overlapped areas.”

Chip Lange, a second year physician’s assistant student, said he feels the center’s technology has helped him learn this semester.

“This is something we’ve been using the whole year, as we’ve been going through school,” Lange said. “This center has actually been a key, one of the main reasons why I chose to come to UT versus other PA programs.”

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