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UTHealth Houston set to teach latest lifesaving skills to community with its new mobile simulation training unit

UTHealth Houston set to teach latest lifesaving skills to community with its new mobile simulation training unit
A state-of-the-art mobile simulation training unit designed to enhance high-level adult and pediatric emergency medicine care. (Photo by UTHealth Houston)
A state-of-the-art mobile simulation training unit designed to enhance high-level adult and pediatric emergency medicine care. (Photo by UTHealth Houston)

A state-of-the-art mobile simulation training unit designed to enhance high-level adult and pediatric emergency medicine care is coming to UTHealth Houston.

Thanks to a $500,000 donation from the Wyatt Ranches, the Department of Emergency Medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston unveiled the UTHealth Houston Mobile Simulation Training Unit — a high-fidelity mobile unit equipped with state-of-the-art medical training equipment, lifelike manikins, and simulation technology — at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, June 7, in Webber Plaza, on the campus of McGovern Medical School.

At the ribbon-cutting, the Department of Emergency Medicine provided a realistic training demonstration with paramedics from Harris County Emergency Services District No. 48. The mobile unit will be implemented throughout Houston to train rescuers and lay public in partnership with Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston, UTHealth School of Public Health, the Harris Health Hospital System, and local fire departments, as well as community outreach projects to teach lifesaving skills such as hands-only CPR, automated external defibrillator use, and choking rescue.

“It is difficult to create realistic EMS training scenarios in a classroom,” said David Persse, MD, medical director of Emergency Medical Services at the Houston Fire Department. “A fully equipped simulation ambulance will greatly benefit our EMT and paramedic students to prepare for real-life events where patients’ lives hang in the balance.”

The Mobile Simulation Training Unit is equipped with 360-degree audiovisual recording equipment and fully stocked with the same equipment used in a functioning ambulance, such as oxygen delivery, suction, defibrillator, wound care supplies, and intravenous (IV) fluids. Simulated pediatric or adult patient encounters with manikins include performing a full history and physical, as well as procedures such as chest tube placement, IV line placement, intubation, CPR, and defibrillation. 

The full recording of the simulation encounter can be played back on the 55-inch TV monitor for real-time debriefing on medical management, patient communication, and leadership and teamwork skills.

“It is our honor to facilitate the realization of this mobile simulation ambulance which will help save lives across Houston. This ambulance training aid will build upon the professional lifesaving skills these medics have already attained from their past training and experiences,” said Bradford A. Wyatt for Wyatt Ranches. “With all the modern technology and advanced training aids built in, this training ambulance is certainly one of a kind in Houston, and definitely in South Texas."

The Mobile Simulation Training Unit program will serve the Greater Houston area and expand to emergency health care professionals in the South Texas region, where this type of resource does not currently exist.

In attended from UTHealth Houston was Giuseppe Colasurdo, MD, president and Alkek-Williams Distinguished Chair; Richard Andrassy, MD, executive dean ad interim of McGovern Medical School, professor and chair of the Department of Surgery, Jack H. Mayfield Distinguished University Chair in Surgery, Denton A. Cooley, MD, Chair in Surgery, and H. Wayne Hightower Distinguished Professor in the Medical Sciences at the school; Bentley Bobrow, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Distinguished Chair, and Nancy, Clive and Pierce Runnells Distinguished Professor in Emergency Medicine at McGovern Medical School; Diane Santa Maria, DrPH, MSN, RN, associate professor and dean of Cizik School of Nursing, The Jane and Robert Cizik Distinguished Chair, and Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair in Nursing Education Leadership at the school; Elda Ramirez, PhD, RN, professor and assistant dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion and Dorothy T. Nicholson Distinguished Professor with Cizik School of Nursing; and Theresa Tran, MD, assistant professor of emergency medicine with McGovern Medical School and assistant professor and assistant dean for clinical population health and advocacy with UTHealth School of Public Health.

Halle Jones

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