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History of the SP Program

The iCELS Standardized Patient Program was established at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1982.  The utilization of the UMASS Standardized Patient as an evaluative and instructional tool has evolved as an integral and mandatory component in all four years of the medical school curriculum – not only at UMass Medical School but at medical schools across Massachusetts.

For over 30 years, UMASS SPs have been respected and in demand as skilled teachers and evaluators of the complete physical exam as well as the female breast, pelvic and male genitourinary exams. Multi-station OSCE’s (Objective Structured Clinical Examinations) utilizing Standardized Patients as subjects have become the assessment instrument of choice because of its proven reliability. The Program has also moved beyond the realm of UMASS and currently provides its academic services to most New England regional medical schools, area hospitals, HMO’s and academic nursing and physician assistant programs, and a veterinary school.  The program continues to make inroads as an active participant in community education workshops, continuing Medical Education (CME) and Graduate Medical Education (GME) courses.

For 4 years, we were one of the select few SP programs nationwide designated to pilot test cases for the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME). This standardized patient performance based assessment measuring clinical competency is now a mandated component of the USMLE II licensure exam.  

The UMASS Program with its 100+ SP workforce has brought national and international recognition to the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and serves as a gold standard and model for standardized patient programs throughout the world.