Letter from the Incoming ASPE President: Karen (“K”) Lewis

by  Karen Lewis, U of Georgetown 

ASPE President 2014-16

Hello ASPE Members,

I cannot begin my tenure as President without first thanking Gayle Gliva-McConvey for her hard work, dedication and tremendous enthusiasm. ASPE has been so lucky to have her as its President. As you saw in her letter in the last issue of ASPE News, under her leadership the Board of Directors has accomplished a great deal. As you’ll see here and in future issues, even though her presidency term is over, her work continues. Many, many thanks, Gayle.

So what’s ahead? In January of this year, the Board of Directors met for two days to develop tactics for accomplishing the strategic plan. Here is some of what we worked on.

In December of 2013, Gayle gathered together several ASPE members to form the President’s Special Task Force for Standards of Practice. It included Standards of Practice committee members and other experts in the field. During the course of a weekend retreat, they identified several standards that ASPE should develop based on scholarship and best practices:

  • Values for SP Programs and Educators / SP Practice as an Occupation
  • Quality Assurance
  • Case Development
  • Training
  • Feedback
  • Professional Development
  • SP Administration
  • SPs and Assessment

At the Board of Directors retreat in January, we discussed next steps for this work, which included refinement of format, additional expert input, and timeline, with the ultimate goal of publication. A draft of this work will be presented to you for your input at our annual conference in Indianapolis. Based on your feedback the task force will further refine the standards and unveil the work at the International Medical Simulation in Healthcare Conference in January, 2015. It is imperative that Standardized Patient Educators play a significant role in shaping the ever changing, ever growing field of simulation and this work will go a long way toward fulfilling that purpose.

Another way we are trying to make a lasting impact in the simulation arena is by extending beyond North American borders. Thanks to affiliation agreements, we have delivered ASPE sponsored workshops and presentations to members of the Society in Europe for Simulation Applied to Medicine (SESAM), Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare (ASPiH), Asia Pacific Medical Education Conference (APMEC), and Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE). In the process of making these connections with colleagues from other countries, we have discovered that there is a real desire for additional sharing of information and practice. As a result, I have charged the International Committee with the task of designing a one-day ASPE Europe conference that would precede a large medical education or simulation conference such as SESAM or AMEE (a model we used for our own first ASPE Conference thirteen years ago.) Meanwhile, thanks to connections she has made in Singapore, the Board of Directors has given Gayle approval to work on a plan for a 1-2 day ASPE Asia conference in 2016.

Yet shaping the field of simulation cannot be accomplished just by the Board of Directors. Within our current membership, you too can have a lasting impact. Compared to many simulation organizations, we have a small membership. We tend to focus on the practicalities of running programs, writing cases, and training SPs more than producing scholarly work about what we do. Now within the rapidly expanding field, we find other people trying to reinvent what we have been doing for fifty years because they are not aware of the SP methodology. While the Board of Directors has devised strategies for outreach to other national and international organizations, here is what members can do to garner more recognition for the established SP methodology:


  1. Publish your work. There are three ways you can go about this. The most obvious is that you can publish research in peer reviewed journals, but you can also publish cases in MedEd Portal, and everyone can publish their work in the ASPE Learning Center. The Website and Social Media, Educational Content, and Educational Resources Committees have been hard at work developing this website feature and it is just about ready to launch. Your contributions can actually increase ASPE membership, because people will want to join if there are a wide variety of resources available to them.
  2. Get to know your simulation colleagues. If your SP Program is not located near other simulation programs, seek them out, find out what they are doing, and look for collaboration opportunities.
  3. Get certified. One way of breaking the ice with your simulation colleagues is to become a certified healthcare simulation educator (CHSE). Certification signifies that while we may have a specialty within the field, we are working toward the same end, and that builds collaboration opportunities. For more information, see http://ssih.org/chse


In the next issue of the ASPE News, I’ll go into more detail regarding how you can go about accomplishing these tasks and contributing our profession.


To address the plan of expanding the membership and membership benefits, I asked Gayle to take over as Membership Chair and appointed Jennifer Owens as Vice Chair. With the help of the other Membership Committee members, they will grow the membership and make being an ASPE member even more rewarding.


Finally, we continue to look at the possibility of changing our name in order to more accurately reflect what ASPE members actually do. We’ve collected a number of possibilities since our last annual conference, and we will be sharing them over the next few months. I invite your comments on this endeavor and on all of the things the Board of Directors is doing. We are here to serve you.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: