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Wine and Wishes Event Raises Funds for Simulator Newborn Baby

SimNewB Would Improve Care for Babies in Hospitals Region-Wide

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Health care providers can learn a great deal about safety and preparedness from the aviation industry. For pilots, flight simulators are the cornerstone of an education and training program that has led to dramatic improvements in flight safety. Medicine is following in that path.  Modern computerized simulators, including a newborn baby simulator called SimNewB, offer dramatic improvements in the quality and fidelity of training experiences that prepare clinicians to provide safe, effective care in emergency situations. SimNewB can do essentially everything an actual baby in distress does, including turning blue and wheezing. It can teach doctors and nurses how to practice important tasks, like placing IVs and resuscitating a newborn, before they are in a real life or death situation.

The Neonatology Division at Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) is raising money to in the hopes of buying SimNewB. Very few New York State hospitals use SimNewB, and no hospital in upstate or western New York has it. With SimNewB, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) will be a leader in simulation-based medical safety and emergency preparedness training.

“The NICU treats one of every 12-13 babies born in the Finger Lakes region. Through medical provider training using SimNewB, thousands of newborn babies will receive better care not only at Golisano Children’s Hospital, but in hospitals region-wide through outreach programs,” said Timothy Stevens, M.D., M.P.H., pediatric neonatologist and director of the NICU at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Golisano Children’s Hospital’s NICU treats nearly 1,200 newborns every year. It also works with 16 hospitals in the region and cares for an average of 230 babies transferred from outside hospitals.

“SimNewB is a valuable educational tool that will improve patient safety through multidisciplinary team training at Golisano Children’s Hospital as well as at hospitals across our region,” said Rita Dadiz, D.O., assistant professor of Pediatrics at Golisano Children’s Hospital. Dadiz oversees all simulation-based training with doctors and nurses within the Division of Neonatology, collaborates with the Obstetric Department on simulation-based training with their staff, and conducts research on the use of simulation technology to improve the care, safety and outcomes of babies.

Pat Lamarche, R.N., senior clinical nurse specialist at Golisano Children’s Hospital oversees the STABLE program, in which four nurses from the children’s hospital have trained over one hundred healthcare providers in seven western New York hospitals how to stabilize newborn babies before they are transferred to the children’s hospital in Rochester. Lamarche hopes to apply for a mini-grant next year from New York State to continue and enhance the STABLE Program with SimNewB. (For more information on the STABLE program, go to

“The hands on training will really add to the nurses’ learning experience,” said Lamarche. She added that with SimNewB, Golisano Children’s Hospital would be much more competitive for state funding.

In addition to helping other hospitals, simulator babies can improve patient care, quality safety, education and research at Golisano Children’s Hospital. For instance, Dadiz runs mock codes, borrowing a manikin that simulates older infants from the pediatrics intensive care unit. During these training exercises, nurses, nurse practitioners, residents, fellows, attending physicians and respiratory therapists practice their responses and prepare for emergency and rare events. The teams videotape themselves and hold a debriefing afterwards, where they watch the video and discuss what could have been done differently in terms of communication, team response, procedures, and so forth.

The Neonatology Division does teamwork exercises with the Obstetrics Department too, which could be enhanced with SimNewB. Dadiz said there are also more possibilities for collaboration between departments with SimNewB, like working with Emergency Medicine in scenarios that might involve unexpected births and treatment of newborns in those situations.

For more information on SimNewB, which was created with the help of the American Academy of Pediatrics, go to

Help Golisano Children’s Hospital Get a SimNewB

The 3rd annual Evening of Wine and Wishes pays tribute to the NICU and raises funds for new resources to improve the care of newborns and infants in the NICU. This year’s event is raising funds for SimNewB. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday, May 15 at Rochester Museum and Science Center, 657 East Avenue. For more information or to order tickets, call (585) 273-5948. If you're unable to attend but would like to donate to this worthy cause, visit

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