CUNY, NYU Langone Medical Center and New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver Open State-of-the-Art Trauma Training Center to Prepare Doctors, Nurses and First Responders for Major Emergencies

New York Simulation Center for the Health Sciences Features Life-Like Mannequins that Can Seize, Bleed and Give Birth

The City University of New York, NYU Langone Medical Center and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today opened the largest urban health simulation and training facility of its kind in the U.S. at Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital Center. Named the New York Simulation Center for Health Sciences, the facility represents one of the more concrete steps public and private institutions have taken to improve the city’s response to medical emergencies following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks or in the event of a natural disaster.

The 25,000-sq.-ft. facility will give doctors, nurses, EMTs and other health care personnel the opportunity to confront challenging, real-world scenarios – from multiple-patient triage and incident command to surgical and clinical emergencies – using state-of-the-art mannequins and plastic body parts that can seize, bleed, be sedated or even give birth. Professionally trained actor-patients with a variety of “ailments” will also help trainees on site learn patient management and treatment techniques, meaning actual patients will not be put at risk.

New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said: “This center will ensure that members of my Lower Manhattan community, as well as NYU Langone, CUNY health care professionals and volunteer organizations – many of which were on the front lines following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks – will have the ability to prepare and train, should another disaster strike. I am proud to have given this project my strong support, and I look forward to seeing volunteers and community organizations from throughout the city, as well as my Lower Manhattan district, get the opportunity to take advantage of this outstanding new state-of-the-art facility.”

Following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, CUNY received funds through Borough of Manhattan Community College to create an emergency preparedness training center. Under Speaker Silver’s leadership, the project came to fruition, found a home at Bellevue Hospital and was allocated nearly $20.8 million, split evenly by the city and state.

What makes the center unique in the U.S. is that medical, nursing and EMTs will all train together in the same location. Beginning today, the center will host a wide range of health professionals, including students and residents at the affiliated nursing, medical, dental and allied health schools of NYU and CUNY, as well as practicing physicians and nurses at the NYU Langone Medical Center. Thomas Riles, MD, the Frank C. Spencer Professor of Surgery and Associate Dean for Medical Education and Technology at NYU Langone Medical Center, has been appointed the center’s director.

Dean and CEO of NYU Langone Medical Center Robert I. Grossman, MD, said: “We are thrilled to see this unique private-public partnership come to fruition. What makes this simulation center so special is not only the advanced technology we use but also the fact that it brings together nurses, doctors, medical students and first responders in a collaborative multidisciplinary setting. This will benefit both the health care professionals and the patients they will treat.”

CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said: “The unusual experience of weathering two natural disasters in the same week – an earthquake and a hurricane – has served as a reminder to all New Yorkers of just how much we rely on trained personnel who can respond to emergencies in an instant. New York City is fortunate to have experienced and dedicated first responders, health care professionals and volunteers ready to rescue and treat the afflicted and prevent or mitigate greater suffering and loss. In a disaster, preparation is key, and there is no better preparation than hands-on training through simulated, real-world scenarios. Experiential learning makes all the difference in an emergency. The City University of New York has always been deeply committed to educating and training those who serve New York as nurses, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and through many other health-care and emergency-response capacities. Partnering with NYU on the New York Simulation Center for the Health Sciences is a natural extension of our longtime work to build a highly trained workforce and advance the safety and well-being of all New Yorkers.”

NYSIM Director Dr. Thomas Riles said: “Fortunately, disasters that result in mass casualties are rare, but since they are rare, health care workers have little opportunity to develop the skills in these situations. Training health care workers and, more importantly, teams of health care workers to respond appropriately in situations is at the heart of simulation education. Just as we expect our pilots to have had hours of training in a flight simulator before attempting to land in a storm, we should expect that our emergency medical technicians, nurses, doctors and other health care workers to be fully trained in a simulated environment before being called to care for casualties from a disaster. The New York Simulation Center for the Health Sciences is designed to provide this type of training – not only for victims of disasters but also for medical emergencies of all kinds.”

The center features multiple simulation rooms – including a disaster training room, a five-bed ICU, two operating rooms, trauma rooms, a labor and delivery room and 14 patient examination rooms – and is equipped with more than 100 cameras to record training sessions so they can be played back for students in debriefing sessions.

The center will also be available for training emergency management workers from a variety of city agencies, Lower Manhattan community groups and businesses and volunteer ambulance services. In addition, New York Downtown Hospital will use the facilities for decontamination and other emergency management training exercises.