Uniformed Services University Simulation Center Dedicated to Former Dean
The National Capital Area Medical Simulation Center at the Uniformed Services University on the Forest Glen Annex was dedicated to Dr. Val G. Hemming, Nov. 18. Hemming, dean emeritus of the F. Edward Hèbert School of Medicine, was the impetus behind USU's Sim Center -- one of the largest, most advanced simulation centers in the world.
Hemming's vision -- inspired by his efforts to modernize USU's curriculum through cutting-edge training in a risk-free environment -- was lauded at the naming ceremony by the event's keynote speakers, including Dr. Charles Rice, USU president; Dr. Ronald Blanck, chair of USU's Board of Regents; the Honorable Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for Health Affairs; and Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen.
"In the military, we have a finite amount of time to create the competency for people who are going to be engaged in real-world situations and global situations -- often in austere environments in which their talents are the difference between someone living and someone dying," said Woodson at the dedication ceremony.
Since 1999, the Sim Center has been a place to gain these life-saving medical skills. The 30,000 square-foot facility is divided into four divisions -- the Clinical Skills Laboratory, the Surgical and Medical Skills Laboratory, the Procedural Skills Training Laboratory and the Virtual Medical Environment. Students use these spaces to practice medical procedures on cutting-edge simulation technologies without any risk to human patients.
Over the past three decades, simulation technology has gradually become a central part of health science curriculums around the world, and USU's center is a trailblazing facility. It's the only place in the nation that offers every facet of health care simulation under one roof, and USU medical students participate in nearly 40 different simulation exercises before they graduate.
"Every time I talk to a (wounded) soldier ... I always ask them, 'how is the care that you're getting over at Walter Reed?' They always give me a big thumbs up. The reality is, the care is as good as it is, because of those who thought of establishing USU," said Van Hollen, who spearheaded a nearly $7 million Congressional provision to add a Wide Area Virtual Environment to the Sim Center.
The Sim Center has stayed at the cutting-edge by incorporating advanced simulation technology and experiential learning into USU's curriculum, just as Hemming envisioned 14 years ago. Despite his important role in establishing the center, he was humbled by its dedication at the naming ceremony.
"I am absolutely overwhelmed and thank you from the bottom of my soul," he said.
Visit http://simcen.usuhs.edu to learn more about the Val G. Hemming Simulation Center.