Friday, April 29, 2011

MGH Learning Laboratory opens

Breathing, talking and interactive simulation mannequins assist in training

CEREMONIAL RIBBON CUTTING: From left, Slavin, Schneider, Nicholson, Gordon and Paciello cut the MGH blue ribbon to celebrate the official opening of the MGH Learning Laboratory.

SIMULATION TRAINING: Carl Blesius, MD, and Emily Hayden, MD, work together on an intubation technique using a new video laryngoscope.


THEY SAY THAT PRACTICE makes perfect. The new MGH Learning Laboratory, located on the second floor of the Treadwell Library in Bartlett Hall, was created to provide a collaborative environment for MGH caregivers to do just that.

On the evening of April 25, special guests -- including Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president; Britain Nicholson, MD, chief medical officer; James Gordon, MD, director of the MGH Learning Lab and chief of the Emergency Department's Division of Medical Simulation; Elizabeth Schneider, director of the MGH Treadwell Library; and Andrea Paciello, executive director of Radiation Oncology overseeing Learning Lab administration -- gathered to celebrate the opening of the new facility. The event included an interactive showcase of the Learning Lab's "family" of adult, child, infant and neonatal mannequin-simulators, all used to support clinical training and assessment for critical event management, teamwork and communication, procedural skills and decision-making. Additional training equipment and educational technologies also were featured, including a synthetic cadaver, virtual autopsy table, ultrasound simulator and 3-D surgical imaging platform. Guests had the opportunity to try their hand at treating sick "patients," as well as test out the innovative technology.

The Learning Lab includes a space called the Simulation Ward, which can be adapted to replicate a variety of clinical care environments, ranging from an intensive care unit to a disaster staging area. In these environments, trainees, providers and teams have a risk-free opportunity to practice diagnosing and treating illnesses on realistic simulators that can breathe, talk, blink and move. The lab also is designed to provide on-site training exercises, where simluation specialists collaborate across campus to provide simulations within actual hospital units and operative suites.

"The MGH is uniquely positioned to routinely integrate practice for expert performance into its everyday operations," says Gordon. "The Learning Lab represents a tremendous step toward that goal by incorporating simulation resources into the infrastructure of an established library in the center of campus. Now clinicians can come to the library not only to read about a patient's illness, but also to practice taking care of their 'patient.'"

Adds Nicholson, "The Learning Lab and its affiliated activities are an important institutional priority, not only as part of our educational mission, but also as part of our core quality and safety efforts."

The MGH community is invited to visit the Learning Lab during open houses held the week of May 9. Tours and demonstrations will be offered at the following dates and times: May 9 from 2 to 4 pm; May 10 from 7:30 to 9 am; May 11 from noon to 2 pm; and May 12 from 3:30 to 5:30 pm.

Visitors also are welcome to stop by the lab between 9 am through 5 pm and can call 617-643-8228 ahead of time to ensure someone from the team is available to facilitate. For more information, call the MGH Learning Lab, email or visit

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