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Emergency Medicine Simulation Division Embarks on a Five-Year Plan to Become One of the Top Programs in the US

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Nearly six months after its official launch, the Simulation Division within the IU School of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine is embarking on an ambitious five-year plan with the goal of becoming one of the top five simulation divisions in the United States.

“IU School of Medicine and IU Health have made a significant investment in simulation as a state-of-the-art teaching methodology with one of the largest simulation centers in the nation,” said Dr. Rami Ahmed, professor of emergency medicine and simulation division chief. “Now that we have a formal division with five faculty members dedicated to simulation, I’m confident we can work toward our vision of national leadership in simulation and do some really big things.”

Part of the division’s vision includes being recognized as “an industry disruptor in the field of medical simulation.” In addition to providing cutting-edge simulation and immersive-based education, the team is committed to academic productivity, collaboration and innovation, as it works to realize its vision and meet aggressive five year-goals. While the group is committed to working hard, Ahmed said the goals are within reach thanks to simulation’s growing prominence in health care training.

“It’s probably become the most popular teaching method across all of medical education and throughout the world because it’s immersive, interactive and highly effective,” said Dr. Ahmed, who joined IU School of Medicine two years ago to start Indiana’s first simulation fellowship program. “Research on adult education shows there is significant retention when learning occurs in an interactive environment; 75 to 80 percent of what people learn in a simulated environment has long-term retention if accomplished effectively. This compares to about 20 percent long-term retention for a really good lecture.”

Looking ahead to 2021, the simulation fellowship will welcome four fellows, including two emergency medicine fellows from IU, one PICU fellow from IU and one pediatric emergency medicine fellow from New York. With the addition of these new team members, the program has had a total of eight fellows since its inception in 2019. Two of the three adult emergency medicine fellows in the inaugural year—Dr. Lauren Falvo and Dr. Anna Bona—joined the simulation division faculty and now serve in the roles of assistant simulation fellowship program directors. The division also welcomed Dr. Malia Moore, a newly recruited simulation faculty member, who is currently serving in the role of associate director of simulation education. Before coming to IU, Dr. Moore served in the U.S. Army where she held the rank of major and was the director of simulation, cadaver and live tissue training in the emergency medicine residency at Darnall Army Medical Center in Ft. Hood, Texas. She will be supporting Dr. Dylan Cooper, longtime executive director of the simulation lab at Fairbanks Hall and the director of simulation education in the Department of Emergency Medicine.

While the division’s primary focus is emergency medicine, the team provides consultation and simulation tools for other specialties, such as surgery, pediatrics, anesthesia and obstetrics, to train health care providers how to respond in high-intensity crisis situations. For the long term, however, the division expects to broaden its scope to any specialty or interprofessional group with an educational goal that is best served by immersive training. “By creating a realistic environment, simulation is the best way to identify how people or teams handle unusual or high-risk situations, allowing them to make mistakes in a safe environment, learn from those mistakes and ultimately deliver better patient care,” Dr. Ahmed said.