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A History of Excellence

  • Sep 1, 1963 Howard-Barrows-1st-simulated-or-standardized-patient-actor-for-medical-teaching-pioneering-history

    Dr. Howard Barrows, MD Introduces World's 1st Standardized Patient

    At the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, neurologist and medical educator Dr. Howard S. Barrows, M.D. introduced SP "Patty Dugger" at the third-year neurology clerkship. It received strong, mixed reactions, including the comment “Hollywood Invades USC Medical School”. Dr. Barrows had later gone on to further his works at McMaster University in Canada and the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, while publishing over 400 journal articles as well as 19 books in his lifetime of tremendously influential works in the area of problem-based learning and simulation.

  • Sep 1, 1970 UMMS-medical-students-1970.jpg

    UMass Medical School Admits Its First Cohort of 16 Students

    The Class of 1974 begins lessons in Shaw Building on Belmont Street, Worcester - not far from where the world's first FDA-approved contraceptive pills was invented by the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, which the school bought over later. Over the years, simulation becomes increasingly incorporated into the medical school's curriculum, including the use of standardized patients, task trainers, manikins and digital learning. UMass Medical School learners' passing rate at the USMLE Step 2 Communication Skills consistently exceed national average, and in 2020, the medical school would go on to rank among top 10% for primary care nationwide in the U.S..

  • Jan 1, 1980

    Looking back: Simulation for Medical Education Grew in the '60s & '70s

    In 1960, Norwegian toy maker Asmund Laerdal debuted cardiopulmonary resuscitation CPR manikin Resusci-Annie. 1966, the Michigan State University (MSU) started using simulated patients. In 1968, the University of Miami debuted Cardiology Patient Simulator Harvey. In 1968, the University of Iowa debuted the use of live pelvic model in its gynecology curriculum. In the early 1970s, Dr. Paula L. Stillman, M.D. started using Patient Instructors at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and created the Arizona Clinical Interview Rating (ACIR) Scale to rate medical learners' performance.

  • Sep 1, 1982

    Dr. Paula Stillman, MD Joins UMass Medical School and Establishes One of the Longest-running Program that Integrates Standardized Patients (SPs), Physical Exam (PE) Instructors, Master Interview Rating Scale (MIRS) and Objective Structured Clinical Evaluations (OSCE)

    A renowned pediatrician, Dr. Stillman created the Arizona Clinical Interview Rating Scale (ACIRS) in 1977. Upon joining UMass Medical School, she started training SPs into patient instructors who would be able to assess and give feedback to medical learners at clinical practice examinations. ACIRS was updated into the Master Interview Rating Scale (MIRS). An SP consortium was formed among medical schools nearby. Thus begins one of the first, and the longest running standardized patient programs in the U.S. In a paper that has been cited over 1,000 times, Dr. Howard Barrows recognizes Dr. Stillman's work.

  • Sep 1, 1986 UMMS-GSN-1987

    UMass Medical School Graduate School of Nursing Begins First Intake

    First class of 30 students matriculates. Over the decades, the GSN program would incorporate the benefit of simulation methods including task trainers, manikins and standardized patients into its curriculum. By 2020, UMass Medical School's GSN program sits among the top 1% of public nursing programs nationwide in the U.S..

  • Jan 1, 1991 UMMS-Aaron-Lazare-books-Medical-Interview-and-On-Apology

    Dean Aaron Lazare Champions Communication Skills Teaching

    UMass Medical School Dean from 1991-2007, Lazare became a nationally recognized communications skills expert and co-authored a landmark textbook The Medical Interview: Clinical Care, Education and Research in 1995; and On Apology in 2005.

  • Mar 19, 1998 Seinfeld-TV-Kramer-as-standardized-patient-with-gonorrhea-for-medical-students-at-Mt-Sinai-Hospital

    "Seinfeld" Introduces Standardized Patient to the World's Masses

    TV show "Seinfeld" saw Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) role-playing as a patient with gonorrhea so medical students at Mount Sinai Hospital could practice their interviewing skills. Although the show delivers its signature comedy in a light-hearted manner, the actual work of a standardized patient carries a lot of responsibilties as it needs to accurately deliver education objectives that a faculty has set for their learners.

  • Aug 1, 2004

    The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 2 Communication Skills (CS) at Drives Demand for Standardized Patients

    USMLE's mandatory Step 2 CS exam consists of a series of patient encounters in which the examinee must see standardized patients (SPs), take a history, do a physical examination, determine differential diagnoses, and write a patient note based on their determinations. By the time this requirement ceased in 2020, UMass Medical School learners have consistently recorded higher-than-national-average passing rate.

  • Dec 12, 2012 UMMS-ASC-Albert-Sherman-Building.jpg

    UMass Medical School Launches 500,000 sq ft Albert Sherman Center

    At levels 2 & 3, the 22,000 sq ft interprofessional Center for Experiential Learning and Simulation (iCELS) brings together five operations that were once located miles apart: The Simulation Center, the Standardized Patient Program, the Office of Continuing Medical Education, the Graduate School of Nursing’s Clinical Skills Lab and the Department of Surgery’s Surgical Skills Lab. iCELS has the capacity to run 20 sessions at a time.