Leaning forward, Madigan’s Sim Center breaks training ground

By Kirstin Grace-SimonsSeptember 3, 2020

Ribbon cut
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Madigan Commander Col. Christopher Warner, Andersen Simulation Center Medical Director Lt. Col. (Dr.) Jillian Phelps and acting Command Sgt. Maj. Scott Pierce, left to right, cut the ribbon on the center’s renovation at a ceremony on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., on August 28. (Photo Credit: Ryan Graham) VIEW ORIGINAL
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Andersen Simulation Center Medical Director Lt. Col. (Dr.) Jillian Phelps shows anatomy of one of the mannequins as she shows attendees of the ribbon cutting ceremony for the center’s renovation the facilities. (Photo Credit: Ryan Graham) VIEW ORIGINAL
MAT trainer
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Andersen Simulation Center Medical Director Lt. Col. (Dr.) Jillian Phelps, on the far right, explains the capabilities of the MAT, or multi amputee trauma, trainer to those attending the ribbon cutting ceremony for the center’s renovation. Center left is retired Col. (Dr.) Imad Haque (with his daughter) who is a former center director who championed the operational aspects of the center, like this trauma training element. This MAT trainer is highly responsive and forces the trainee to take the right steps in rendering care in order to save its life. Losing blood and having labored breathing are just two examples of ways it simulates life-like conditions that can occur on a battlefield or in a trauma situation. (Photo Credit: Ryan Graham) VIEW ORIGINAL
Nerve repair
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Trainees practice nerve repair on simulation equipment at Madigan Army Medical Center’s Andersen Simulation Center on August 26. U.S. Army Photo by Ryan Graham. (Photo Credit: Ryan Graham) VIEW ORIGINAL

MADIGAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. – The Charles A. Andersen Simulation Center has been a fixture at Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., since 2002. Yet, when the hospital commander, Col. Christopher Warner, the center’s medical director, Lt. Col. (Dr.) Jillian Phelps, past directors, base leadership and local media gathered on Friday, August 28 to cut the ribbon on the renovated facility, every inch of the training facility was brand new.

“This center now will encompass three separate facilities that span over 24,000 square feet within the Madigan Army Medical Center complex. Here where we’re standing today will be our main center. This location will provide a continuum of care experience that includes our pre-hospital services, an ER capability, an OR capability and an ICU training environment. All which mimic those that are seen within our hospital. The equipment that is located here is the same as in our facility. The rooms are at the same level and grade as what you would see in our facility. So that it is a realistic and real life experience in simulation for all of our trainees that come through,” said Warner in remarks during the ceremony captured for sharing on Madigan’s Facebook page.

The ASC’s initial footprint was the old Madigan operating room site, consisting of 1,100 square feet and minimal personnel. Over the last 18 years, the need for simulation to facilitate graduate medical education, military medical provider readiness for deployed settings, as well as patient safety initiatives in support of a high reliability organization have all increased demand.

In 2007, the center expanded in conjunction with an Army Medical Command effort to enhance graduate medical education through simulation training. This effort included the creation of the Central Simulation Committee, and Army-wide body that is headquartered at JBLM. The committee has achieved its goal of developing a consortium of simulation expertise and standardizing curriculum across the 10 medical treatment facilities that provide graduate medical education training. In 2010, the Andersen Simulation Center received full accreditation from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.

A capstone field training exercise each spring brings units from across the base to include Special Forces, Air Force and Guard partners to take graduating residents through a combat scenario that is unique in the Army and as close to the battlefield as trainees can get.

This exercise has grown in tandem with the ASC’s operational complex. The FTX and operational simulation were both championed by retired Col. (Dr.) Imad Haque, a former center director who was in attendance at the ceremony.

“As we look to the future, not only this facility here, but the additional spaces, the operational complex which you’ll get a view of today, which now provides the capability for realistic battlefield and Role I and Role II capabilities for our Soldiers, our doctors, our nurses, to not only work by themselves, but in teams to practice, rehearse, so that we ensure that we deliver a ready medical force to meet the needs of our force for any mission, anywhere, any time,” Warner noted.

The operational complex exposes personnel to the sensory elements they would find in an austere environment. Sounds, smells, lighting and smoke all put medical responders in a realistic situation to promote their abilities to practice their life-saving skills under the stressful conditions found on the battlefield. Practice within the operational complex utilizes the equipment personnel will use when deployed.

Within the hospital itself is the Just-in-Time Center that provides around-the-clock, onsite access to high fidelity simulation equipment that allows personnel to practice procedures before performing them on patients. With this training experience, residents can practice scenarios of dealing with complications that could arise during procedures, giving them the opportunity hone skills, firsthand, without any risk of harm.

As Phelps welcomed attendees, both in person and virtually, to the ceremony, she noted the many community partners, both on base and outside the military, involved with the ASC. The value of the center and the training it provides to medical personnel who will deploy at some point in their military careers is apparent to I Corps and 62nd Medical Brigade. The ASC also brings value to the outside community as well.

The ASC has the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic and Fundamentals of Endoscopic surgical training equipment, as Madigan is the only Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons-certified testing site in the state of Washington to ensure general surgeons and obstetrics/gynecologists are able to complete required testing to ensure the residents are board-eligible on graduation.

The Andersen Simulation Center has extended Madigan’s outreach to the Pacific Northwest region, facilitating training with the Tacoma Trauma Trust, enhancing inter-agency disaster preparedness, and improving communication among governmental and civilian partners alike.

Warner projects the impact of the $5 million investment renovation constitutes well into the future of military medicine.

“First, we are investing in our future. We are training over 300 doctors, nurses and countless medics in this facility, not only to serve here and now but to serve for the next 20, 30 years within our military medical force. These will be the frontline leaders, not only in the operations that we see going around the world now, but for those in the future,” Warner said.

To view the ceremony and take a virtual tour of the facility, visit Madigan’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/MadiganHealth

Madigan’s Social Media Links:

Madigan’s Facebook:


Madigan’s Twitter:


Madigan’s Instagram:


Madigan’s LinkedIn:


Madigan’s YouTube: