Simulated Competitions Are Re-shaping How Medicine Is Learned

Medical Education Simulators

Simulation based medical education is defined as any educational activity that utilizes simulation aides to replicate clinical scenarios.

Medical simulation is quickly becoming the learning method of choice throughout medical academia, with renowned medical organization accelerating the learning curve through competitions.  Preclinical, clerkship, residency, and subspecialty training are being taught through immersive and intensely realistic simulated environments. Medical schools around the world are heralding this new approach to learning, and for good reason, diving into simulated medical training. But why would competition drive the learning and adaptation? Perhaps Charles Darwin had it right.

Charles Darwin Quote

In 2011, the AAMC conducted a survey to assess the current state of simulation in medical education by defining how and where institutions were using simulation for academic purposes. The survey provided an opportunity to develop a framework for operational attributes of simulation programs and centers utilized by the academic medical community. Although used to assess AAMC-member medical schools and teaching hospitals, the survey was designed in collaboration with other organizations with the intent that it could be easily modified for use with other communities.

Today simulated medical education has risen to become a preferred choice among global medical academia, with more medical students than ever transitioning from residents to certified practitioners via simulated training.

Here are 3 simulated competitions driving the way medical training is learned.

  1. The AMA’s Healthy Innovation Challenge

Winners can receive $50,000 in innovation grants by demonstrating how their idea can help shape 21st century medicine in either making technology work for learning, advancing digital health, or evolving digital medicine. Teams representing the top 5 ideas will be invited to present at the AMA Healthier Nation Innovation Challenge event (CME available) on June 11, where a panel of judges will select the top 3 winning teams.


  1. The SimOlympics

Medical teams are challenged to bring to bear their collective medical knowledge and clinical skills in a series of simulation-based events that encompass evidence-based medicine, procedural skill sets, teamwork behaviors, and overall ACGME core competencies. A judging panel made up of faculty, fellows, and chief residents from the represented residency programs will observe, evaluate and mark each team’s performance during each event. At the end of the evening, scores will be tallied, and one team will be named winner of this year’s SIM OLYMPICS.

The winning teams will be honored in the SIM OLYMPICS HALL OF CHAMPIONS.


  1. National Simlympics at the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) convention

32 schools competed against each other in a single elimination competition. Simulations take place in an auditorium with a live audience. Each team has the opportunity to presented a case in a simulated setting with a SimMan® 3G, and had 10 minutes to evaluate, discuss, treat and present findings to a panel of judges from other schools, medical programs and residences. Winning teams get $1,000 and all expense paid trip to Europe to compete at the international Simlympics.


“Simulation is arguably the most prominent innovation in medical education over the past 15 years.” AAMC

The sentiment is shared universally, as medical schools globally are injecting healthy competition and incentive to warrant the proverbial “pushing of the envelope” in simulated medical training, and it’s working. In the U.S. simulated medical training has been so widely adopted that it is challenging to even find medical schools not using the powerful technology in this way. Good luck!

Joseph Bryant
No Comments

Post A Comment