January 23, 2009

Good Morning:

The whole country cheered the heroics of US Airways pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger III, who last week landed a disabled airliner filled with passengers safely in the Hudson River. Sullenberger's ability to react so quickly was due in large part to the aviation industry's practice of training crews using both high fidelity simulators and Crew Resource Management, a method of team training developed by NASA, the military and commercial aviation to improve safety.

This team concept, in which individuals with disparate roles and responsibilities are trained to act together for a single outcome, has been adopted by the medical community and will be on display Monday with the unveiling of the Tulane Center for Advanced Medical Simulation and Team Training.

This 14,000 square foot, $3 million facility located on the third floor of Tulane's Murphy Building at 131 S. Robertson St., replicates a hospital setting with a fully equipped emergency room, intensive care unit, operating room, exam rooms and more. The center is also equipped with robotic patients that mimic ailments and offer incredibly realistic simulated training in laparoscopic surgery, colonoscopy, heart catheterization, suturing, intubation and infant delivery. The robotic patients can even "die" and be resuscitated.

While robots and other high-tech equipment capture the imagination, the real value of the center is the system-wide training it provides so that all members of a medical team are equipped to work together toward the common goals of reducing medical errors and ensuring patient safety.

The center is the brainchild of Dr. Benjamin Sachs, senior vice president and dean of Tulane University School of Medicine. The center will teach Crew Resource Management using a training program Ben helped create for the Department of Defense and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the leading federal agency for research on health care quality, costs, outcomes and patient safety.

Prior to his arrival at Tulane, Ben built an international reputation for improving patient care and safety. We are delighted that Tulane is now positioned to provide real-world training in patient safety for our own students as well as to serve as a training center for medical professionals from throughout the country and world.

Have a great weekend,


Office of the President Emeritus, 1555 Poydras St, Suite 700, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-274-3638