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The School of Medicine’s Clinical Skills and Patient Simulation Center has three new mannequins to facilitate simulations for students. This is the first purchase of a mannequin in nearly a decade and provides a new educational tool that reinforces UNC’s standard of safety.

Contact: Carleigh Gabryel, 919-864-0580,

CHAPEL HILL, NC – Of all the things to happen in the School of Medicine’s Clinical Skills and Patient Simulation Center, you might not expect a baby shower. But that’s exactly how faculty and staff celebrated the arrival of three new simulation mannequins last Wednesday—complete with cake, balloons, and birth certificates.

Dubbed “the triplets,” the Laerdal Medical SimMan 3G mannequins allow the school to expand its simulation learning across multiple courses and offer a wider variety of scenarios for students to experience.

“It increases our ability in terms of providing different modalities and opportunities for the faculty to provide hands-on opportunities to demonstrate the esoteric and didactic skills they’re teaching,” said Benny Joyner, MD, MPH, Clinical Co-Director of the Clinical Skills and Patient Simulation Center.

“Simulation is a big part of medical education,” said Julie Messina, MA, Director of Assessment for the the center. “We’ve had a simulation program for some time, but in the past we haven’t had enough mannequins to hold the high-fidelity simulations we strive for.”

The last mannequin the center owned, Stan, was retired three years ago. Before the arrival of the triplets—Sam, Robin and Alex—the simulation center had to borrow mannequins from the departments of anesthesiology and pediatrics. And that presented problems.

“Having to beg, borrow, and steal mannequins to produce simulations doesn’t yield the most accurate situations,” Messina said. “We might have a case where we have a pediatric mannequin playing a 63-year-old man.”

“The new simulation mannequins are versatile and realistic,” said Joyner. “We can insert different devices and tubes into them, get vital sign readings and listen to their breathing or heartbeat. They also blink, have adjusting pupils, and even seize. And depending on what kind of case we want to simulate, we can change their gender.”

Messina says the biggest impact from the new additions will be increased opportunities for practicing patient safety in simulated settings.

“The whole point of simulation comes down to one factor—patient safety. Clinicians in training need to learn without compromising the safety of a patient, and using a mannequin can help to simulate a high-stress environment. This provides a safe space for our students to reinforce the concepts they’re learning in class or seeing in the hospital.”