The Baylor College of Medicine Student Simulation Society was created in 2013 by fourth-year medical student Shehni Nadeem when she organized a group of first-year medical students for the 2014 American Medical Student Association Simlympics competition. The team-based competition focuses on stabilizing a simulated critical patient. With guidance from their faculty mentor and medical director of the Simulation and Standardized Patient Program, Dr. Tyson Pillow, the then newly founded Baylor team took first place in the national competition. As U.S. champions, the team went on to compete in the inaugural International Simlympics at the Society in Europe for Simulation Applied to Medicine conference in Poznan, Poland. That team of mostly first-year medical students, which included Kayla Kumm, Amir Nikahd, Jake Valentine, Shehni Nadeem, and Sam Buck, took first place, besting more experienced teams from across Europe. 

This past year, first-year Baylor medical students Andrew Kohner, Evan Strobelt, Saagar Patel, and Luis Fernandez and second-year student Lakshay Jain took first place at the 2015 AMSA competition in Washington, D.C. and at the SESAM competition in Belfast, Ireland, for back-to-back national and international championships.

The team attributes much of their success to the guidance from faculty mentors and the opportunity to practice in the world-class Baylor College of Medicine Simulation Center. Special recognition goes to Sim Lab assistant director Deborah Taylor, L.A.T., Cer.A.T.  in the Department of Surgery for help in training the teams. 

“Medical simulation has been a great tool for me to work on my own skills. It certainly helps with my medical skills and has influenced me to pursue emergency medicine as a specialty, but simulation also teaches leadership and critical thinking skills that are harder to find in a traditional classroom,” notes Samuel Buck, third-year medical student and president of the Student Simulation Society.

“I'm interested in pursuing a surgical residency, and after seeing the last year's winning team perform a simulation in front of our class, and being blown away by how much they had learned and grown in just one year of medical school, I joined the team. Being part of the Sim Team, and being able to use the Sim Lab, has allowed me to greatly flourish as a medical student. It allows us students the opportunity to connect what we learn in the classroom to real-world scenarios where patient's lives depend on our knowledge, teamwork, and communication,” says first-year Baylor medical student and Rice University alumnus Andre Critsinelis.

"Simulation helped me find my place in medicine. I realized I absolutely adore teaching and have a passion for education. It is humbling, challenging, and innovative in every way. It is a fantastic experience for future female leaders in medicine. It has led me to make friends around the world and to discover my love for taking care of the acutely sick, undifferentiated patient,” stated extracurricular student simulation program founder Shehni Nadeem.

Shehni recently authored a 150-page book for the Texas College of Emergency Physicians titled "Introduction to Simulation: an Educational Guide for Medical Students" and is director of the medical student "SimWars" track for the Texas College of Emergency Physicians. The team is looking forward to again representing Baylor and the United States at the 2016 SESAM Conference in Lisbon, Portugal.