GCH SimLab Means Big Things for Health Education in Haiti

International Child Care (ICC) has a long history ofleadership in the Haitian health care community. Originating with the founding of Grace Children's Hospital (GCH) in 1967, ICC has developed a reputation for its prominent work with infectious diseases and its high standard of patient care. Today, ICC continues to lead the way in health education with its new SimLab, a simulation laboratory in the new Education and Training Center at GCH. A SimLab is a safe environment for health care promoters to develop critical thinking skills. Clinical skills are first practiced and tested on manikins to better prepare health care promoters for real life situations that are encountered at GCH.

The first phase of the SimLab was initiated last week when a group of Methodist clergy and lay people from the North Texas Annual Conference, led by ICC USA board member Dr. Ellen Palmer, delivered thousands of dollars worth of medical manikins to GCH. The manikins were generously funded by First United Methodist Church of McKinney, Texas. In this first phase of the SimLab, clinical learning experiences will use the manikins in static and role playing scenarios to test specific skills. In the phases ahead, the addition of digital manikin accessories will provide for even more realistic simulation as instructors will be able to set pulse and respiration rates, for example.

The GCH  manikins, 14 in total, are modeled after children in various stages of development. Bernie, a "Nursing Kid" manikin funded by Lake Highlands United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas, realistically represents a six-year-old child. Health care promoters will use him in skills training for a variety of pediatric simulations like inserting IVs and performing CPR. Also included in the manikin set is a "MamaNatalie." Complete with a "NeoNatalie," this manikin is used to simulate the delivery of babies in either normal or complex birthing scenarios. This training can have a positive impact on mother and infant mortality rates, which is especially important for a country like Haiti where women and newborns face inflated delivery risks.

The SimLab is not only expanding the education and training of current GCH staff, but also the greater Haitian health care community. Five nursing schools currently study at GCH, including the Haiti National School of Nursing. More than 60 students per month complete clinical rotations at the hospital, and will now have the opportunity to improve their communication skills, refine critical thinking and expand clinical training with manikin simulation. Other local hospitals have expressed interest in partnering with GCH to use the SimLab for the training of their own health care promoters.

ICC is dedicated to promoting not only the health and well-being of GCH patients, but also the health and well-being of all Haitians in need of healthcare. The SimLab is just one example of how ICC is working to improve the health of Haiti and all of Hispaniola. You can support our continued leadership and innovation by making a donation today.