UW’s CREST Utilizes DOD Grant to Build Modular Manikin Simulator

Fake it ‘til you make it

Looks like there is a new manikin on the horizon from the team at CREST! The Daily UW recently reported about the manikin’s development, which while initially seems to have combat medics in mind, will also have lasting civilian opportunities with the industries first “open source” programming interface.

Named after Frankenstein, the roughly 6-foot manikin is part of an ambitious project by the UW Center for Research in Education and Simulation Technologies (CREST) to create an intelligent, customizable model patient that can fit the needs of any medical scenario. The finished manikin will have interchangeable limbs, an internal computer system, and a network of sensors that monitor how a simulation is progressing in real time. “[Frank] is kind of the logical conclusion,” said CREST director David Hananel. “We’ve been trying to develop these high-tech medical simulators for 25 years, but we haven’t made a lot of progress. It’s really the last three to four years where it’s starting to take off.”

The team won a competitive grant from the Department of Defense (DOD) last September as part of the Advanced Modular Manikin project, securing $7.7 million over the next three years to further develop Frank into a multipurpose training tool. They plan to equip Frank with realistic features like warm skin, a wet tongue, a working system of fluid-filled veins, and a network of sensors that relay information back to the computer core in real time.


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Much of the DOD’s interest in medical simulation stems from its goal to improve training procedures for combat medics, but the CREST grant specifies that the manikin platform should have both military and civilian applications. This technology could also allow the U.S. military to end its current practice of using live animals, such as pigs and goats, to train combat medics on invasive procedures.

The U.S. military uses over 8,500 live animals every year for training purposes, according to a house bill filed in February. The DOD wants to move away from animal models but is hesitant to do so until researchers have demonstrated that medical simulations are equally effective training tools, according to Speich. As part of the DOD’s grant, the final manikin platform will be open source, meaning the software and design information will be available for free. While it’s unusual for the DOD to be this transparent with its research, Hananel said that they see the benefits of many companies collaborating on a common platform. “For too long simulation has been silos where everyone is pretty protective of their technology,” Speich said. “The way we’re approaching this from the start is letting everyone know that what we’re creating will be shared with everyone. It’s been a long time coming.”

I’m sure we will see Frank at a SimGHOSTS healthcare simulation technology conference in the near future!

Read the full article on the Daily UW website


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CREST Provides Cultural Respect Simulation Training

CREST cultural training

The Universtiy of Melbourne and Victoria University have partnered to provide Cultural Respect Encompassing Simulation Training, or CREST for short. If this interests you then HURRY — The next program starts NEXT week!!

Cultural Respect Encompassing Simulation Training (CREST) is a collaborative program between the University of Melbourne (UoM) and Victoria University (VU). It was funded over the last 4 years (2012-2015) by Health Workforce Australia and the Department of Health and Human Services. UoM and VU now run it as a self-funded project.

CREST comprises five modules designed to deliver training relating to cultural sensitivity in communication to health professional practitioners and students using simulation pedagogy. The five CREST modules are:

1. Introduction to cultural diversity: This module explores the interaction between culture and health, and the influence culture has on the identity and health beliefs of both patients and health care providers.

2. Negotiating between different health beliefs: This module explores how culture, religion and life experiences influence an individual’s health belief system, understanding of health and disease causation, and health seeking behaviours. It also facilitates the development of effective and culturally sensitive communication and negotiation skills.

3. Effective communication when English proficiency is low: This module explains the principles of effective communication with linguistically diverse patients and identifies strategies for working effectively with an interpreter. Participants will practice communicating with clients with low English proficiency and working with an interpreter.

4. Communicating culturally sensitive issues: This module explores some of the culturally sensitive factors that may affect the identity and health of culturally diverse patients, including those that contribute to health inequalities. Participants will gain an understanding of how some cultural and religious beliefs strongly shape relationships and daily life practices, and potentially affect engagement with healthcare systems.

5. Communication and Indigenous healthcare: This module explores the diversity and uniqueness of the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultures, and highlights the importance of demonstrating cultural respect in enhancing a patients desire and ability to seek health care.

Learn more on the CREST webpage today!