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ACOM Students Win National Simulation Tournament

DOTHAN, Ala. –March 1, 2017 – A team of second-year students from the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) won the National Sim Challenge during the 2017 American Medical Student Association (AMSA) annual convention held in Washington, DC, February 23-26, 2017. The winning ACOM team will now represent the U.S. at the international simulation competition in Paris, France this summer.

Sim Challenge is a competition in which student teams are presented with emergent clinical scenarios that require medical knowledge, clinical skills, team work and communication to save the simulated patient. This year, eight student teams competed in the bracket-style national tournament to determine one winning team to represent the U.S. on the international stage. ACOM was one of two osteopathic colleges that competed this year, with the other teams representing allopathic colleges. In the end, two ACOM teams reached the championship round, and competed head-to-head. The teams were presented with the same trauma case using a live patient actor dressed in a trauma suit, simulating a 40-foot fall. Students had to work collaboratively and efficiently to save the patient in just 15 minutes.

ACOM started its own simulation competition in 2015 to prepare students for the national event. The AMSA-ACOM team prepared well last year before the national competition was canceled, but students continued working diligently to enhance their skills in preparation for the event this year. In November 2016, the college held its second annual simulation tournament to identify two ACOM teams to advance to the national event. Since November, the ACOM students have been training weekly in a simulation boot camp at the college designed by Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of Simulation, John Giannini, MD. Students encountered a variety of intense simulated scenarios through their training, such as knife wounds, pulmonary embolisms, poisoning, and heart attacks. After each encounter, Dr. Giannini met with the teams to provide feedback and strategize for future encounters.

“Simulation is an important part of medical education because it provides students with opportunities to have high-stakes patient encounters in a safe environment. Each week, we presented our students with more complex scenarios, which further challenged and engaged our teams through the process,” Giannini explained. “Our two teams of students went through months of rigorous simulation training, and we are proud of how they represented ACOM and the osteopathic profession at the national competition.”

Looking ahead to the international competition, the ACOM team will continue the simulation boot camp training with Dr. Giannini, preparing for any scenario. The international simulation competition will take place during the Society in Europe for the Simulation Applied to Medicine (SESAM) annual meeting in Paris, France, June 14-16, 2017.

About the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM)

ACOM is a four-year, comprehensive osteopathic medical school located in Dothan, Alabama. As the academic division of the Houston County Health Care Authority, the private, non-profit college was founded in 2010 to help address the primary care physician shortage in Alabama. ACOM is the third medical school in Alabama and the first osteopathic medical in the state. For more information, visit or stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

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