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Simulation Training, Education and Research Expertise Earns Three VHA leaders Top Honors

By Gerald Sonnenberg
EES Marketing and Communication

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Three VHA leaders have been singled out for their expertise in leadership and mentoring in the field of clinical simulation training to earn the 2014 VA Under Secretary for Health’s Awards for Excellence in Clinical Simulation Training, Education and Research.

  • Rosalyn P. Scott, MD, Master of Science in Health Administration (MSHA), and David J. Adriansen, Ed.D, Nationally Registered Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT), are the recipients of the Excellence in Clinical Simulation Training, Education and Research Practice Award
  • Isabel Duff, MS, is the recipient of the Excellence in Clinical Simulation Training, Education and Research Executive Leadership Award

Dr. Rosalyn Scott is the associate chief of staff for medical education, as well as the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 10 simulation champion located at the Dayton VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Ohio. She also serves in several positions at the facility, including the chief of thoracic surgery at Dayton, as well as a joint appointment at Wright State University as a professor of surgery and biomedical, industrial and human factors engineering.

In 2010, as director of the Dayton VA Simulation Center, she was appointed lead of the VISN 10 simulation enterprise. Since then, she has amassed a variety of accomplishments and provided leadership by creating the first VISN-wide simulation consortium. Its goal is to support consistent simulation-based education through common education, policies, procedures and data systems to track participation, measure impact and evaluate activities.

Initially using an under-utilized facility van, she built the VISN 10 mobile simulation program that annually deployed education on multiple topics to all VISN 10 facilities. She continuously promoted simulation through articles and presentations on key topics and offered didactic instruction on simulation techniques. In addition, Dr. Scott:

  • Leading the upgrade of the Dayton Simulation Center to a new 17,000-square-foot VHA regional resource. 
  • Ensuring simulation staff competencies stay current, including training them on essential software and wound moulage.
  • To enhance future staff bench strength, she initiated and co-directed the VISN 10 Interprofessional Advanced Fellowship Program in Clinical Simulation, setting standards within VISN 10 ensuring each simulation educational activity helps to provide the highest quality of treatment for Veterans.

The second awardee, Dr. David Adriansen, is the manager of the Minneapolis VAMC Simulation Center, and he champions clinical simulation in VISN 23.   

Like Dr. Scott, he has a long list of accomplishments in simulation education including:

  •       Authoring a unique analysis of simulation capabilities within the Midwest and leading the development and Execution of the VISN 23 clinical simulation program which has simulation training initiatives at 11 VA facilities, one university and two non-VA hospitals. His operational and clinical expertise is crucial in driving decisions on what curriculum to create and which training is best supported via simulation. In determining the best curriculum, Dr. Adriansen met with local and regional simulation education experts within the health care industry, collegiate programs and the Department of Defense (DOD) for the purpose of facilitating relationships to examine common training possibilities that would benefit both VA and others advancing clinical simulation.
  •       Improving clinical proficiency and performance with simulation throughout VISN 23 facilities. In one example,
    through the use of pre- and post-course evaluations, improvements for tracheal suctioning training led to improved outcomes for patients in the Minneapolis VAMC’s Spinal Cord Injury and Disorder Center and a decrease in Rapid Response Team activations.

The third recipient, Ms. Isabel Duff, served as the director of the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System’s (VASNHS) new VAMC in North Las Vegas until her retirement in May 2015. This facility was the first new medical center constructed in VHA since 1995.

During her tenure, she demonstrated an uncompromised personal commitment in many ways. This includes:


  • Successful implementation of clinical simulations during the final construction phase of the facility by ensuring simulation became a standard operating practice and key foundation to safely educate, train, identify and mitigate issues prior to providing patient care.
  • Participating in all facets of the simulation process working with the Simulation Learning, Education and Research Network’s (SimLEARN) hospital activations team and her staff from development to clinical scenario design, environmental evaluation, as well as leadership debriefings.
  • Facilitating the participation of the VISN 22 chief surgical consultant in operating room simulations prior to activation, supporting the travel and short term assignment of surgeons, nurses and key clinical roles in different areas to participate in activation simulations.
  • Advocating for joint venture affiliate participation in clinical simulations prior to DOD providers performing procedures in VASNHS clinical areas.
  • Identifying the significance of the recording and production of a video documenting the VASNHS operating room clinical activations activities that has become a foundation for the future research and development of VHA clinical simulation initiatives.

 “Since the inception of the USH Simulation Awards in 2010, we have identified and recognized VHA staff members who are national and international leaders in health care simulation,” said Dr. Haru Okuda, SimLEARN national medical director. “The quality of the recipients from this year continues to ensure VA maintains its innovativeness and advantage in progressing simulation-based health care training for the clinical providers in order to improve Veteran care and contribute to the field of health care simulation.” 

For more information about the awards, please go to the awards page at

The Employee Education System partners with peer VHA program offices to design, develop, implement, evaluate and accredit quality education and training programs to improve outcomes in Veteran clinical care, health care operations and administration. EES training and education programs provide core accredited content needed by staff to maintain licensure and certification; EES also develops specialized learning content to equip VHA’s health care providers with the most current knowledge and skills to address the challenging needs unique to a Veteran patient population. EES’ Simulation Learning, Education and Research Network (SimLEARN) is the VHA's program for simulation in health care training. The use of innovative technologies in a safe learning environment enhances diagnostic, procedural and communication skills to support quality care and the best possible outcomes.