The History of SIMS

Simulation is a growing trend in healthcare. It is an excellent way to train for stressful encounters, critically-ill patients, and rare patient presentations. However, despite its benefits, it has not been used extensively at the medical student level. Most often, simulation is only used to assess medical students in the form of standardized patient encounters.

Fortunately, medical students have recognized the potential value of simulation and urged others to pursue opportunities to benefit from it. In 2012, three students created a competition called Simlympics that allowed medical students to try their hand at managing complex patients with medical emergencies. In 2013, their thrilling competition caught the eye of students at Baylor College of Medicine. The following year a small team of medical students trained to compete in Simlympics. Their hard work paid off and they took first place, winning an opportunity to continue on and represent the United States at an international competition in Poland. They won that too. They returned home and under the guidance of one of the competitors, Sam Buck, a new team of first year medical students was trained. For the second year in a row, a team of pre-clinical medical students from Baylor took first place at the national and the international competition.

This built a lot of momentum for student-led simulation at Baylor College of Medicine. Evan Strobelt, one of the newest Baylor simulation champions, applied his background in education to design the first formal curriculum for Baylor's student-led simulation club. The new curriculum created clear learning objectives and incorporated structured lectures and carefully-designed cases to teach a new team of first year medical students. Baylor's third simulation team again returned to the international competition, this time competing against several teams of residents and incorporating complex medical procedures on a cut-suit mannequin. Incredibly, this team took third place!

After all the success Baylor's simulation student-led simulation club had experienced, it was time to share the fun with others. Led by Evan Strobelt in 2016, the Student Initiative in Medical Simulation (SIMS) was born. SIMS was created with the purpose of helping students from other medical schools learn how to participate in simulation and to invite students to participate in the exciting competitions that Baylor students had enjoyed so much. In order to help other students participate in simulation, they needed resources to share. Unfortunately, all the available simulation resources had one of two problems: 1) unaffordable or 2) cumbersome. Excellent simulation technology already existed, but the costs were prohibitively expensive--certainly beyond the reach of any student-led simulation organization. Free resources were helpful, but cumbersome to use, especially in the midst of fast-paced, dynamic cases. Thus, it was decided that students would need a new, better resource to aid their training. Evan Strobelt teamed up with other Baylor students experienced in simulation (Sam Buck and Jake Valentine) and designed and authored the SIMS Primer: Starting a Simulation Program.

Using the SIMS Primer as their core resource, SIMS helped 8 new medical schools across Texas develop simulation programs. In 2017 SIMS hosted 8 teams from 7 different schools in the first student-led competition in Texas. After our success in Texas, students were eager to share what they had learned and enjoyed so much over the past year. It was time for SIMS to grow to help students around the country join in on the fun.

So, if you're a student looking for a way to boost your education, step away from the books and the flashcards for a bit and come join in on the fun. We're training for what we will actually be expected to do in the hospitals one day! This is why you came to medical school in the first place! We'd love to help you find ways to incorporate simulation into your education. Contact us below and we'll help you become a SIMS Captain to lead your own team of medical students!

Interested in Trying out Simulation?

Send us a message and we'll help you get started! You'll learn valuable skills as you teach, train, compete, and lead!