Newswise — Bethesda, Md. – The Uniformed Services University’s (USU) Val G. Hemming Simulation Center – one of the nation’s most advanced medical education centers – has earned re-accreditation as a Comprehensive Education Institute from the American College of Surgeons (ACS). The five-year accreditation recognizes exemplary institutes for their best practices and delivery of the highest quality surgical education. The ACS also recognized USU’s Surgical Education and Simulation Fellowship with a three-year reaccreditation.  

The Simulation Center delivers more than 38,000 hours of instruction each year, using simulated patients, human patient simulators (mannequins), task trainers, and virtual reality for medical students, graduate nursing students, physicians, and allied health personnel. The Center is at the cutting-edge of innovation, offering simulated clinical exams and an immersive Wide Area Virtual Environment (WAVE), used to enhance military members’ combat and disaster response skills. 

The ACS Division of Education manages the accreditation program, using several Accredited Education Institutes (AEI) Standards and Criteria to evaluate participating institutions to provide accreditation in two categories: Comprehensive and Focused. The requirements for learners, space, facilities, and personnel are higher for Comprehensive AEIs compared to Focused AEIs. However, to be considered either a Comprehensive or Focused Education Institute, the organization must undergo a robust multi-level review process, and must meet rigorous standards focused on advancement in the field, educational methods, governance and budgets, personnel, and educational resources. 

“This re-accreditation is a testament to our Val G. Hemming Simulation Center’s efforts to continuously provide the most innovative techniques to our learners,” said Dr. Eric Elster, dean of USU’s F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, under which the Simulation Center is aligned. 

"This is the third time we have been accredited by the American College of Surgeons at the highest level possible as a Comprehensive Education Institute.  That, in itself, is a rarity among simulation centers and is a testament to our operation,” added Dr. Patrick Monahan, medical director of the Val G. Hemming Simulation Center.  The Simulation Center is also accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare in assessment, teaching, research, and systems integration. 

In addition to the Simulation Center’s re-accreditation, the ACS also granted full, three-year reaccreditation to the National Capital Consortium (NCC) Surgical Education and Simulation Fellowship led by USU, noting zero deficiencies. The fellowship is one of the four oldest programs of its kind in existence, with more graduates than any of the others, according to Dr. Kyle Potter, chair of USU’s Department of Surgery. 

"I could not be more excited about this news,” Potter said. “This well-deserved re-accreditation is a sterling example of the many ways that USU-Walter Reed Surgery continues along the cutting edge of surgical education and training, and preparing our military surgeons for the challenges of both today and the future."

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About the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences: The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, founded by an act of Congress in 1972, is the nation’s federal health sciences university and the academic heart of the Military Health System. USU students are primarily active-duty uniformed officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Public Health Service who receive specialized education in tropical and infectious diseases, TBI and PTSD, disaster response and humanitarian assistance, global health, and acute trauma care. USU also has graduate programs in oral biology, biomedical sciences and public health committed to excellence in research. The University's research program covers a wide range of areas important to both the military and public health. For more information about USU and its programs, visit