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EVMS-ODU medical modeling and simulation effort nets $600,000 in DoD funding

Story Date: Thu, 06 Oct 2011 11:06:00 EDT

Eastern Virginia Medical School and Old Dominion University's Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) have received a $600,000 federal grant to establish two medical modeling and simulation laboratories.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Economic Assistance (OEA) awarded the funds to the National Center for Collaboration in Medical Modeling and Simulation (NCCMMS), a joint program of EVMS and VMASC.

The funding came through an OEA program that helps mitigate negative economic consequences to communities impacted by DoD program changes, says C. Donald Combs, PhD, EVMS vice president and dean of the EVMS School of Health Professions, who will serve as principal investigator for the projects.

The closure of the U.S. Joint Forces Command made Hampton Roads eligible for the funding assistance, which was coordinated through the Office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

"The opportunity to work with academic and industry partners to improve medical modeling and simulation, within the region, the state and nationally, is greatly enhanced by this grant," Dr. Combs says. "Of course, the ultimate goal is to use simulation to improve the care that is provided to patients and to be recognized as a region for playing a leading role."

The first project will involve the establishment of the Laboratory for Investigation, Validation and Verification of Emerging Simulators, or the LIVES Lab.

LIVES will be much like the well-known Underwriters Laboratory that was established by the insurance industry to establish product standards, Dr. Combs says. LIVES will utilize partnerships with academia, government and industry to assess new medical simulators from disciplines such as human factors psychology, clinical medicine, medical education, bioengineering, computer science, modeling, simulation and visualization, among others.

The second project will involve the establishment of the Sim Lab, a medical simulation laboratory that will be an analogue of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory located in Cambridge, MA. The Hampton Roads laboratory will bring together researchers from multiple disciplines, working through consortia representing both academia and industry, to develop new medical modeling and simulation technologies that will ultimately be incorporated in new products.

The new laboratories will build upon the Hampton Roads region's significant defense and homeland security modeling and simulation expertise and apply some of that expertise to the medical field to further diversify the region's economy, Dr. Combs says.

The NCCMMS was jointly established by EVMS and ODU in 2003 to conduct research in medical modeling and simulation. It was initially supported by an appropriation in the FY 2003 Defense Appropriations Act and in recent years has been supported by appropriations from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

EVMS is a leader in medical modeling and simulation. The EVMS Center for Simulation and Immersive Learning opened in July 2011. This 25,000-square-foot medical simulation facility serves as a regional and national platform for simulation training, research and new product development.