Simulation Center leads with technology, advanced training

DALLAS – Nov. 20, 2023 – UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Simulation Center, marking its fifth anniversary this year, is one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the nation, offering an unparalleled environment for immersive learning at all levels – from first-year medical students to practicing health personnel.

Daniel Scott, MD

Daniel Scott, MD, is assistant dean for simulation and student integration at UT Southwestern and the Simulation Center’s director.

Since opening in September 2018, the 49,000 square meter Sim Center has recorded almost 6,000 events and more than 113,000 student meetings. The center is one of only a few in the country with a robotic system used solely for training, and last year became the first in the world to install OR Black Box technology in a simulated environment where it records every aspect of an operation. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, virtual reality, 3D printing and other technologies have also been integrated into the learning environment.

“The center has had a transformative impact on our campus,” said Daniel Scott, MD, assistant dean for simulation and student integration at UT Southwestern, who is the center’s director. “Students are exposed to leading-edge curricular approaches, patient safety is improved, and new technologies are explored. The center has put UT Southwestern at the forefront of innovation and scientific activity and provides us with a truly world-class facility.”

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The facility’s 20 exam rooms and six admissions rooms all have cameras and microphones to record learning sessions for later review, enhancing education. Five rooms replicate specialty environments: an emergency room, an intensive care unit, an operating room, a labor and delivery suite, and a robotic operating room. Each of these areas has an adjacent control room to monitor what is happening and facilitate authentic scenarios. Lessons often involve high-fidelity mannequins that resemble human anatomy by breathing, crying, showing vital signs and even speaking.

Krystle Campbell, DHA, MSMS, CHSE

Krystle Campbell, DHA, MSMS, CHSE, is the Director of Operations for the Simulation Center.

The center stands out not only because of its size and advanced technologies, but also because of a detailed curriculum and experienced team of simulation educators who offer breadth and depth to their programs. Its offerings range from the technical – suturing and learning robotic surgical skills – to the more complex dynamics involved in teamwork and communication.

“We have become a campus resource like no other,” said Krystle Campbell, DHA, MSMS, CHSE, Director of Operations for the Center. “We have an amazing, creative and passionate team of simulation professionals, healthcare providers and researchers. Together, we are paving the way for improved patient care through the power of healthcare simulation.”

Since the center’s opening, its faculty and champions have published 68 peer-reviewed studies related to simulation.

Simulation center students practicing a procedure on a manikin

Students practice their skills using one of the high-fidelity dummies at UT Southwestern’s Simulation Center.

The SIM Center offers verification of 13 competencies deemed essential by the Association of American Medical Colleges. It also provides hands-on instruction in more than two dozen undergraduate content areas. However, the largest student body participating in simulations at the center is Graduate Medical Education, with 19 of UTSW’s 21 clinical departments hosting activities for residents and fellows. In addition, the center regularly hosts continuing medical education courses that attract practitioners, nurses and providers from across the country.

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“The center demonstrates this institution’s commitment to the value of medical education through simulation,” said Dr. Scott. “The fact that we are five years in and have an average annual growth rate of 14% in student meetings is testament to that.”

About UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, integrates cutting-edge biomedical research with exceptional clinical care and education. The institution’s faculty members have received six Nobel Prizes and include 26 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 20 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 13 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. The full-time faculty of more than 3,100 is responsible for groundbreaking medical advances and is committed to rapidly translating science-driven research into new clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in more than 80 specialties to more than 120,000 inpatients, more than 360,000 emergency room cases and oversee nearly 5 million outpatient visits per year.