Official Logo 2016

Tue, 24 Nov 2015 15:15:00 EST
New Educational Initiatives

CHSPS has acquired and trained in the use of the Human Worn Partial Task Surgical Simulator also known as the “Cut Suit” by Strategic Operations. The first “Cut Suit” was developed for tactical combat casualty care (TLCC) training by the military and since that time a second trainer is now used for surgical simulations. The “Cut Suit” is used to simulate trauma scenarios and provides the opportunity to safely perform surgical procedures on a live person wearing the suit. It is worn by a standardized patient or “SP” who is trained by our Center. Moulage, a special application of makeup, can be used to realistically portray the person’s injuries along with simulated blood. A number of procedures can be performed including cricothyroidotomy, tourniquet application, needle thoracentesis, chest tube insertion, suturing and stapling of skin, a thoracotomy and laparotomy. For more information go to:

If you are interested in using this surgical simulator, please contact Cheryl Bodamer PhD, RN or Ellen Brock MD in the simulation center @ 628-3925.


Tue, 24 Nov 2015 15:15:00 EST

In December the VCU Center for Human Simulation and Patient Safety (CHSPS) was awarded accreditation as a Comprehensive Education Institute through the American College of Surgeons Accredited Education Institutes program.

“We are thrilled” said Dr. Ellen Brock, Medical Director of the CHSPS.  “This represents 5+ years of working together with the Department of Surgery to consolidate our education programs and focus on quality simulation based education.” 

Dr. Patricia Lange, Pediatric Surgeon and CHSPS Assistant Director for Surgical Simulation, concurs. “Being named an Accredited Education Institute by the American College of surgeons is a great honor and is in-line with our department's strong commitment to education of students, residents and faculty.  This accreditation will allow us to better collaborate with other institutions to develop new and innovative programs that will enhance residents' surgical skills, OR team dynamics, patient quality and safety as well as educational research.”

The accreditation represents external validation of the quality of work at CHSPS – including a disciplined approach to curriculum design and implementation, assessment of learning outcomes and educational effectiveness, and ongoing quality improvement.  Equally important are the benefits of networking with educators and researchers from the other AEI’s and the opportunities to collaborate in curriculum design, evaluation, and development of technologies for teaching.

The accreditation process requires demonstration of the quality of education and infrastructure processes in a number of areas including:

  • how the center approaches education in the 4 domains of cognitive, psychomotor, affective, and team skills
  • training that promotes effective communication, inter-professional interactions, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement,and systems-based practice
  • the process for developing and implementing original curricula within the CHSPS
  • a process for evaluating and selecting adopted curricula
  • how faculty are recruited and trained as simulation educators
  • processes and mechanisms for assessing learner performance and outcomes
  • process for assessment of faculty
  • processes for continuous improvement in the education and training programs
  • the adequacy of the CHSPS’s physical facility, technology infrastructure, staff and equipment for meeting the educational needs at the UME, GME CME and inter-professional team levels
  • integrity of the budgetary processes and organizational commitment to sustaining the CHSPS

Accreditation is awarded on a three year cycle.

“Ultimately, we are all about education that improves the care and safety of our patients” said Dr. Brock. “We have a very supportive administration, great and enthusiastic faculty and a wonderful staff. And many, many people worked together to create a Center worthy of this designation. They can all be proud of this achievement.”


Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:02:00 EST
CHSPS Part of Privileging VCU Health Providers in Sedation

This summer VCU Health began including a simulation module as part of the privileging process for providers who practice moderate, deep, and pediatric sedation as part of their practices. After completing the relevant online modules, the providers then sign up for an hour long session where they complete a series of two simulations. The center has a library of cases to simulate based on the credentials needed and the practice of the provider. A staff member even steps in as a simulated nurse for the session. By adding a simulation module, VCU Health is able to measure the proficiencies in a practical environment and ensure the highest quality of care for its patients.


Tue, 24 Nov 2015 15:15:00 EST
DEEP Conference Features Live Feed from the OR Followed by Cadaver Lab

 Dr. Vigneshwar Kasirajan, along with Drs. Kenneth Ellenbogen and Jayanthi Koneru have been working with Atricure in the development of a dual epicardial and endocardial hybrid ablation procedure (DEEP) to address chronic atrial fibrillation.

On June 16, 2015 the CHSPS hosted the first of multiple conferences to train surgical and medical teams in the performance of this multidisciplinary maze procedure.  The conference featured a live feed from the OR moderated by a cardiac surgeon, followed by a hands on cadaver lab.  Participants included electrophysiologists, cardiac surgeons and industry representations. 

The next DEEP Conference is scheduled for late October.



Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:09:00 EST
Standardized Patients Acting as Physicians in Communications Simulations

x SP as Doctor x Fellows in Geriatrics, Hematology/Oncology, and Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine may have to have some very challenging conversations with their patients, as anyone can imagine. One of the key aspects of their communication skills is being able to empathize with their patients who may be going through a challenge they hoped they would never face. In the past, these fellows practiced these difficult conversations with one another. Now they receive instruction from VCU Standardized Patient Program Founding Director, Aaron Anderson, PhD, and then have a simulated encounter with a standardized patient.

However, unlike most encounters where the standardized patient portrays a patient in a familiar setting, the fellow is the patient. Christian Barrett, MD, developed a case where the standardized patient can play the physician so the fellows can get some sense of what their patients may feel receiving a terrifying diagnosis. Dr. Barrett created a lengthy and detailed packet of information so that, Jim, our standardized patient can be prepared for the kind of technical questions he may get from these patients. After the simulation, the fellows have the opportunity to debrief with Jim and discuss how it felt immediately after the encounter. They reflect on the experience before debriefing further with their faculty. Then they get a chance to have another encounter with a standardized patient, but this time, the fellows are in their traditional roles but with a new perspective.


Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:14:00 EST
Teaming Up: A simulation based orientation for new trainee doctors

Every August a new cohort of medical students begin their careers as striving young doctors. This time can be extremely exciting, but also comes with the challenges of meeting new classmates and adapting to new educational methods such as simulation. In today’s interdependent society, healthcare is truly a team sport and working together as a team is important from day 1 of training.

In the Fall of 2015, The Center for Human Simulation and Patient Safety conducted a study to evaluate a unique simulation based orientation and to better understand teamwork attitudes and performance of incoming medical students. The simulation based orientation was designed to expose students to medical simulation based learning and emphasize the importance of teamwork in healthcare. Over 200 incoming medical students worked in teams of 5 to gather information, communicate relevant information, practice generating a differential diagnoses, and work as a team for shared decision making. Students received brief teamwork training emphasizing the Guided Team Self Correction expert teamwork model. Student rated their teamwork attitudes and teamwork performance following completion of all scenarios.

Our study revealed several interesting findings. Overall, students reacted very favorably to the orientation, noting the value of simulation to learning and the relevance for their training. We also showed that incoming students are able to receive some brief teamwork training and apply teamwork skills to clinically relevant healthcare simulations when entering medical school. Although most students felt very comfortable with the simulator technology and learning format, we found that many students remain uncomfortable with the simulation technology, thus medical schools should provide adequate orientation to simulation based learning. Our results suggest that the simulation orientation can be one mechanism for helping to orient new medical students to their new roles as trainee doctors and introduce concepts of teamwork in a practice environment.


Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:16:00 EST
Nine faculty completed the Performance Feedback and Simulation module in the Teaching in Medical Educationcertificate program. Faculty devoted 30 hours to exploring the foundations of experiential learning and developing and implementing simulations. Sessions were devoted to educational theory, development of learning objectives suited to simulation, planning a scenario with manikins or standardized patients, developing assessment tools and achieving inter-rater reliability, learning climate, and debriefing. The semester long course culminated in the presentation of faculty projects developed during the semester, including a pre-briefing plan, development of learning objectives and scenario, debriefing plan, and assessment tool.

Responses from the faculty participants were overwhelmingly positive. "The course activities of question and answer, observing and practicing, and giving feedback, really enhanced my self-esteem as an educator" wrote one participant.  Another who has already incorporated her semester project into her curriculum wrote:

 "I really feel like I have now conquered my fear of simulation... I was very heartened by my MIVs responses to my first scenario and look forward to building on the great experiences this class has given me."


Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:17:00 EST
One Year in New Facility

The VCU Center for Human Simulation and Patient Safety celebrates one year in its new facility in the McGlothlin Medical Education Center on the Medical Campus at VCU. The 25,000sf facility is home to both the Simulation and Standardized Patient programs at the VCU School of Medicine and the VCU Health System. "This is a gorgeous facility that creates tremendous capacity for our faculty to integrate simulation into their educational work, and to develop and test solutions for making healthcare delivery at VCUHS safer" said Ellen Brock,MD, MPH, the Center's Medical Director.

To take a virtual tour of the Center CLICK HERE.


Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:21:00 EST

For the past 18 months, the Center has worked with the VCUHS Labor and Delivery unit in predicting and mitigating the negative impact of workflow disruptions associated with unit rennovations. One final round of in situ simulations was conducted in April in preparation for the opening of the fully rennovated unit. Simulation was critical for identifying potential failures that were not predicted by table top discussions  alone.  Additionally, several unit operational procedures are being updated based on recommendations from the simulations. Brenda Baker, PhD, RN (L&D Nurse Clinician) and Dave Chelmow, MD (Chair, Obstetrics and Gynecology) have been wonderful partners in this work.

The Center is currently engaged with Neonatal ICU faculty Archana Jayaram, MD and Russell Moores, MD, in using in situ simulation to improve work processes associated with the management of newborns being treated with ECMO.  The Center is also working with the Pediatric ICU in evaluating processes and solutions regarding associated with transfers and handoffs in the ICU.


Tue, 24 Nov 2015 16:23:00 EST

Story from SOM website is at

The Center staff is thrilled to have received the VCU School of Medicine's Educational Innovation Award on November 18, 2013. In presenting the award, Jerome Strauss, MD, PhD noted that "These individuals have been on a journey to develop what I consider to be the most powerful simulation program in an American medical school."

"The Center, at its core, was designed to bring all of the individual programs and departments and their simulation project together for the betterment of the entire instirution. These silos have gradually come together for the common good. This has been due mainly to the Center's collaborative style and willingness to work toward excellence" said Mary Alice O'Donnell, PhD, Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Medical Education at VCU.