UNT Health Science Center opens regional simulation center with fully immersive virtual reality rooms

The University of North Texas Health Sciences Center in Fort Worth made history Thursday with the opening of the first immersive virtual reality simulation center in Texas.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony—featuring Dr. Michael R. Williams, UNT System Chancellor and HSC President, and HSC students, faculty, and staff—was held to celebrate the new Regional Simulation Center on the HSC campus.

The Regional Simulation Center uses state-of-the-art immersive virtual reality technology, in addition to realistic simulation mannequins, multifunctional spaces and more traditional virtual reality. The center’s technology can replicate virtually any healthcare scenario across multiple disciplines and has uses for both medical students who need to learn new procedures in a low-risk environment and for providers. experienced healthcare professionals looking to hone their skills or learn new ones.

“The opening of HSC’s new Regional Simulation Center is truly exciting as it is the first immersive virtual reality simulation center in the state of Texas,” Williams said in a statement. “Advanced technology will allow our students and caregivers to practice and learn new skills in the most realistic environments. This will ultimately benefit patients and increase patient safety.

The $6.75 million facility is in a renovated space on the first floor of HSC’s Gibson D. Lewis Health Sciences Library at 955 Montgomery Street. , clinical teams, first responders and more.

Many local stakeholders attended the center’s dedication event, including state officials, members of the Fort Worth City Council, and members of the UNT System Board of Trustees and the Foundation Board of the UNTHSC.

“This is an incredibly exciting day for the Health Science Center and Fort Worth,” says Michael Crain, Fort Worth City Council member representing District 3. “The impressive technology here will enable current and future generations of healthcare workers to learn and practice the skills they need to improve the overall quality of care in Fort Worth. This is a victory for our city. »

Guests were given a tour of the facilities and students were on hand to demonstrate the lab’s many state-of-the-art features. Williams; Jessica Rangel, executive vice president of health systems; Karen Meadows, center director; and Amogh Krishnagiri, a fourth-year student at HSC’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, all spoke at a brief ceremony to mark the occasion.

“Simulation was instrumental in my journey through medical school,” says Krishnagiri, whose input, along with that of other students, was instrumental in the design of the center. “Having the opportunity to practice complex skills and scenarios in an immersive and safe environment has prepared me for these experiences in a clinical setting. As a future emergency physician, I will benefit from the many rehearsals of procedures I have had the privilege of getting into these engaging, informative and fun settings.

“The addition of the HSC Regional Simulation Center to our campus is a tremendous asset for learners at all levels, regardless of degree or specialty,” he continued. “The attention to detail, emphasis on flexibility and integration of technology will give HSC the opportunity to redefine what clinical training can be. It was an honor to be part of the planning process.

The center will open to the public in early July. Prior to this, the HSC simulation team will be trained by educators from Harvard University’s Center for Medical Simulation, one of the first such facilities in the world. The Harvard team brings more than two decades of experience and expertise to HSC staff.

The center is designed to provide a comprehensive healthcare simulation with techniques drawn from multiple disciplines and tailored to each learner’s level and background. The lab’s fully immersive virtual reality projection component uses state-of-the-art 360-degree cameras that allow staff to transport students through work scenarios.

In addition to the virtual reality component, the 16,000 square foot lab contains several key upgrades from the former simulation center. The new center includes 14 authentic looking clinical examination rooms; a wide range of moddable procedural skills; a suite designed to look like the interior of a house; several “team” multipurpose rooms; and numerous learning lounges, where students can study. Many room functions can be resized, reconfigured and adapted to suit learners’ needs.

“The HSC Regional Simulation Center will not only improve healthcare outcomes and patient safety, but this state-of-the-art facility will also serve as a beacon for prospective medical students, tech companies and other contractors,” said Leonard Firestone, City Council Representative for District 7, which includes the HSC campus. “The center will send the message to business owners that Fort Worth embraces new ideas, emerging technologies and is not afraid to lead. The economic impact of this center could be a game-changer for our city as HSC strengthens its position as a leading healthcare institute.


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