Two VA simulation leaders honored by Society for Simulation in Healthcare - VHA SimLEARN
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Two VA simulation leaders honored by Society for Simulation in Healthcare

By Gerald Sonnenberg
EES Marketing and Communication

ORLANDO, Fla. – 
Two VHA simulation leaders were selected to be part of the inaugural class of fellows in the Society for Simulation in Healthcare Academy (SSHA). Dr. Haru Okuda, SimLEARN national medical director, and Dr. David Gaba, staff anesthesiologist and director of the Patient Simulation Center of Innovation for the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto, California, are among 34 members of the simulation community, selected from several countries. Gaba is also professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine at Stanford University.

In addition to being selected for the academy, Gaba also received the Pioneer in Simulation Award during the Society for Simulation in Healthcare’s (SSH) International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare event in Orlando. This is the highest award that can be given through SSH.

According to the SSH website, the mission of the SSHA is “to recognize individuals whose sustained contributions have had an impact on the field of simulation and who will continue to contribute their time and talents to advance the mission and goals of the SSH and SSHA. Individuals selected for the Academy are practitioners, researchers, administrators, operations specialists and educators who have made outstanding contributions and will be known as Fellows of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (FSSH).”

“I’m honored and proud to be in the inaugural class of Fellows of the Academy of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare,” said Gaba. “The pioneering work in simulation that was part of what qualified me for membership in the academy was done at VA Palo Alto Health Care System, before there were commercial simulators or simulation centers. Thanks to the VA’s broad vision of its role in U.S. health care I was also able to devote some of my time to being one of the seven founding members of the board of directors of the SSH, and the founding editor-in-chief of its peer-reviewed scholarly journal.”

Okuda said, “I feel very honored and humbled to be selected as one of the inaugural members of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare Academy amongst simulation giants such as David Gaba and Jeff Cooper.” Cooper is the founder and executive director of the Center for Medical Simulation.

“The first cohort is represented by a diverse group of international, interprofessional health care simulation champions who have pioneered simulation within their respective domains,” he explained. “Our group has been charged with providing the vision and leadership to advance simulation in health care for the next decade. I look forward to the challenge and opportunity.”

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 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.