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Diverse Manikins Deliver Inclusive Learning Experience

New Simulation Manikins and Task Trainers Reflect a Multicultural World

October 09, 2023
Two medical students wearing white lab coats practicing on a dark skin manikin with a stethoscope.
New York Medical College utilizes racially diverse manikins to enhance their medical training and improve cultural awareness.

The CSSC opened nearly 10 years ago with three SimMan 3Gs, one SimJunior and several task trainers, all of which were one shade of light skin. The previous lack of diversity in simulation technology prevented educational institutions, like NYMC, from including manikins of various skin tones and unique characteristics into their simulation collections. In recent years, simulation technology companies, such as Laerdal and CAE, started to design their manikins to incorporate diverse skin tones and various body sizes to more accurately represent the patient populations that health care professionals will be exposed to throughout their careers. 
“We want to make sure every learner feels like they are represented in the patients that they are caring for,” said Katharine Yamulla, M.A., CHSE, senior director of competency-based assessment and clinical skills education and director of the Clinical Skills and Simulation Center. “By training in the New York Metro area, our students are fortunate to be exposed to a wide variety of populations. Thus, it is important that students are culturally aware and medically responsible for appreciating the unique needs of each patient they care for.”
As NYMC’s simulation equipment aged and needed replacing, the College began to introduce manikins and task trainers with an array of skin tones into it’s collection.  In 2019, NYMC welcomed its first diverse gynecological task trainers in light, medium and dark skin tones for medical students and residents. The second initiative included adult and pediatric venipuncture IV arms. Last year, the old SimMan 3Gs were replaced with three adult SIM 3G Plus manikins that were not only more advanced, with incredibly life-like traits, but also came in light, medium and dark skin tones. NYMC was recently awarded a grant by the Children's Dream Foundation of Westchester to receive a new SimJunior in a medium skin tone and will soon be purchasing a SimMom. Julia Levo, M.F.A., the Center’s standardized patient director, also continues to recruit standardized patients who represent a spectrum of cultural, gender and sexual identities which promotes educational opportunities that can improve future patient outcomes. 
“To optimize the efficacy of the simulation center, students should be exposed to diverse manikins, diverse standardized patients and a broad range of case scenarios so that students are best prepared to provide care for the increasingly diverse patient population in the United States,” said Mill Etienne, M.D. ’02, M.P.H., vice chancellor of diversity and inclusion, associate dean of SOM student affairs and associate professor of neurology and of medicine.