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CHIPS Receives Prestigious Accreditation, Plays Key Role in International Conference

Staff of the Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation at UTHSC accept the plaque recognizing the center's accreditation by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.
Staff of the Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation at UTHSC accept a plaque recognizing the center’s accreditation by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center played a prominent role in the International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare earlier this month in Los Angeles.

Ten members of the Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation (CHIPS) and two faculty physicians shared research, including a livestream presentation on the role logisticians play in planning simulations. More than 200 people participated remotely and several dozen more attended in person.

CHIPS received accreditation in Teaching/Education by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH) and the Council for Accreditation of Healthcare Simulation Programs.

Teresa Britt, MSN, RN, CHSE-A, interim co-director and director of education of the center, accepted the accreditation on stage.

“One of the main things for UTHSC was the fact that our team had such a large presence,” Britt said. “Our team is very integrated with the Society for Simulation, and that really comes through at the conference. We are on several committees and serve as site reviewers. In the sim world, CHIPS is well known.”

SSH accreditation is a peer-reviewed, customized evaluation of health care simulation programs. This accrediting process examines a program’s processes and outcomes in core simulation standards, as well as in the strength areas identified by the institution (assessment, research, teaching/education, and systems integration). Achieving SSH accreditation signifies that CHIPS is delivering high-quality simulations to prepare clinicians for the diverse array of healthcare situations and procedures they will encounter in the patient-care setting.

This milestone was achieved through the dedication of leadership, faculty, and staff of CHIPS. The final application required roughly eight months of self-reflection and documentation to capture the exemplar activity and program processes.

“Achieving this milestone is something that really puts CHIPS and the UTHSC campus on the map,” said Jarrod Young, MBA, BSE, CHSOS-A, interim co-director and simulation operations lead for CHIPS. “It is a badge of honor that validates all the hard work that has been put into the development of this program.”

Chad Epps, MD, FSSH, CHSE, was recruited as executive director of Healthcare Simulation in 2016 to build UTHSC’s simulation program. Although Dr. Epps passed away in late in 2020, his passion for earning accreditation motivated the staff to complete this process.

“This is something that the CHIPS staff felt strongly about completing in memory of Chad,” Young said. “Accreditation was something he was passionate about, and we could think of no better final honor for his legacy than to achieve this with the program he worked to develop.”

In a particularly proud moment for UTHSC, the society announced the Chad Epps Lecture Series, named in his honor. Epps was the society’s first fellow in Tennessee. Young introduced the lecture series at the conference.

“Similar to accreditation of our academic programs, accreditation by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare is a credit to the sustained outstanding efforts of the staff of CHIPS,” said Cindy Russell, PhD, vice chancellor of Academic, Faculty and Student Affairs at UTHSC. “The foundation laid by Dr. Chad Epps ensured that best practices, standardization, benchmarks, and quality would underpin our simulation program. Our thanks to interim co-directors, Teresa Britt and Jarrod Young, as well as all the staff in CHIPS, for taking our simulation program to new heights of recognition as one of a very few simulation programs acknowledged at this level.”

CHIPS continues to elevate its profile through strong metrics, field advances, and professional development. For the 2020-2021 academic year, in the midst of the pandemic, CHIPS tracked more than 32,000 learner hours. The staff delivered more than 15 presentations at national simulation conferences and achieved a number of individual credentials and nominated positions within SSH.

There are now 200 accredited simulation programs worldwide. Since the society’s inception in 2010, programs from 24 countries have achieved the accreditation.

Jane Roberts contributed to this story.