Training in minimally invasive surgery has had a long rich tradition at OHSU dating back to 1992, when Dr. Brett Sheppard implemented the clinical and educational laparoscopic surgery program. When John Hunter jointed the Department of Surgery in 2001 as the Mackenzie Professor and Chairman of the Department, he brought international recognition to the OHSU minimally invasive surgery program and the vision to set a course for integration of simulation into the education program at OHSU.
During this time period, simulation was limited to 500 square feet located on the fifth floor of University Hospital, and 350 square feet of space within the Department of Surgery. In January 2005, a formal Laparoscopic Training Program was initiated within the OHSU Department of Surgery in recognition of the obstacles residents encountered utilizing training facilities without a formal education plan.
In 2007, Dr. Donn Spight was named as the Medical Director for Surgical Simulation Education. Dr. Spight embarked on a vigorous program to enhance simulation training for the residents. A bold expansion of the resident education program ensued, and by 2008, ultrasound, vascular, open, endoscopic, and communication skills were added to the curriculum. The expanded curriculum removed all categorical and preliminary post graduate year surgery residents from clinical duties for five hours every Monday, representing significant investment to education by the Department.
The rapidly expanding simulation efforts no longer met the training needs of the residents. A new room located in the Old Library building was dedicated to simulation as part of the VirtuOHSU network providing 1500 square feet of space. Additionally, a room directly adjacent to the operating room suites was dedicated to simulation as the "warm up" area for surgery residents prior to beginning a minimally invasive surgical procedure.
The primary goal of VirtuOHSU is to provide a controlled setting for simulation and further development of technical skills and team training. Learners include medical students, residents, physicians in practice, physicians seeking re-entry into the work force or needing remediation, nursing and other healthcare provides. As an example, VirtuOHSU has been charged with providing central line certification for the OHSU health system. VirtuOHSU provides educational resources from other institutional entities in simulation curriculum development and implementation. Finally, VirtuOHSU provides a setting for research in surgical education and a laboratory for technological innovation.
The old surgical simulation center
Updated and expanded VirtuOHSU Surgical Simulation Center