About Us

‌Eastern Virginia Medical School’s Sentara Center for Simulation and Immersive Learning is dedicated to establishing competencies in clinical, communication and professional skills of health care providers. The Center’s mission is to promote and provide high quality clinical education and experiences and reliable assessment of skills and procedures, with the ultimate goals of advancing patient care, increasing patient satisfaction and promoting better health outcomes.

Education and assessments are provided at all facets and levels of medical and health care training, from first year learners through practicing professionals.  The Center's experiential training model uses Standardized patients (SPs), including the more specialized Physical Examination Teaching Associates (PTAs) and Genital Teaching Associates (GTAs).  The services of the Center are also used to enhance and optimize the client relationship of various health professions schools, and to other health care and related organizations.

The use of SPs allows the realistic simulation of patient contact to foster the learner's development of skills necessary for mastering data gathering, physical examination, basic and advanced communication, diagnosis and management, professionalism and responsiveness to patient concerns, while learning and being assessed in a safe environment.

“The term standardized patient (SP) has gone through many metamorphoses, as the process itself has been refined since its inception in 1963. There have been many other names attempting to describe this phenomenon: programmed patient, patient instructor, patient educator, professional patient, surrogate patient, teaching associate, and—the more generic term—simulated patient. What all of these terms are referring to is a person who has been carefully trained to take on the characteristics of a real patient in order to provide an opportunity for a learner to learn or be evaluated on skills firsthand.”

Peggy Wallace, Ph.D.
Following the Threads of an Innovation:
The History of Standardized Patients in Medical Education