03.08.10

Leahy Unveils State of the Art Simulation Program At Fletcher Allen Health Care

 BURLINGTON, Vt. - On Monday Senator Leahy met with leadership of Fletcher Allen Health Care, the University of Vermont and the Vermont National Guard to view a demonstration of new equipment at the hospital’s Simulator Training Program.  At the event Leahy announced more than $1.7 million in funding he has secured in the federal budget for the project, which provides training to hospital nurses and doctors, university medical students and guard personnel on state of the art simulation equipment.  The equipment offers realistic training experiences for medical conditions that range from birth to gunshot wounds and other severe trauma. 

“This simulation laboratory and program will create a better trained workforce that will produce fewer medical errors and improve the quality of health care of Vermonters,” said Leahy.  “For Vermont Guard personnel, it means an opportunity to train before facing real-life trauma situations in the battlefield or when responding to disasters.  This partnership has brought together three distinct organizations to share resources, and is a model that works well in Vermont. ” 

The funding Leahy secured has allowed for the purchase of eight high-fidelity mannequins that include adult simulators, a birthing mother, 2 newborns and a 5-year-old.  To date the program has trained a core team of personnel that has worked with medical residents to train them for complex deliveries, conducting mock emergencies, and pediatric and neonatal resuscitation training.  In December, 80 members of the Vermont Air and Army National Guard medical staff received training during a two-day session before their deployment to Afghanistan earlier this year.

"The Simulator Training Program enables students and providers at all levels to improve their skills in the treatment of medical complications in a safe and controlled environment,” said Melinda Estes, M.D., president and chief executive officer, Fletcher Allen Health Care. “What this means is better, safer care for patients around the region.  I want to thank Senator Leahy for his extraordinary support of this valuable program." 

Leahy, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has made a priority of securing federal funding for advanced medical equipment for the state’s hospitals, colleges and universities.  At UVM and Fletcher Allen, these projects include the UVM College of Medicine’s Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Center, the state of the art classrooms at the Fletcher Allen/UVM Medical Education Center and a UVM and Fletcher Allen teletrauma initiative to bring video technology into ambulances.

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