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About the SP Program

Photo by Anthony DeCarlo
The Simulated Participant Program Grows
In 1993, the primary goal of the SP Program was to train medical students for initial clinical encounters. Fast forward to 2022, the SP Program has grown to helping all clinicians provide patient-centered care.
Yale School of Medicine’s Simulated Participant (SP) Program provides learners at any level with a safe and effective space in which to acquire and practice their skills. We work with investigators as a resource to promote innovation and scholarship in simulated education research.

The SP Program has expertise in designing and implementing training scenarios as well as case and character development to meet your learning objectives and program goals. We aim to deliver an authentic and effective experience for your learners.

Our Simulated Participants are trained specifically for your program and committed to excellence in all they do. We employ a diverse population of SPs to ensure learners receive training on engaging with the wide range of people they will interact with in practice.

Since 1993, the Standardized Patient Program at YSM has provided learners with a supportive environment in which to engage in realistic simulated encounters with trained health care educators. In Winter 2022, we changed the program’s name to Simulated Participant (SP) to express the varied roles our SPs are trained to portray, our commitment to serve the diverse needs of our clients, and to advance research in education and training using human simulation pedagogy. In the summer of 2023 the SP Program became a part of the Yale Center for Healthcare Simulation.

We encourage your interest and are available to consult and brainstorm with you about how you might use the SP Program to meet your educational or research goals.

The Role of a Simulated Participant

Photo by Anthony DeCarlo
Medical and physician associate (PA) students practice a ​communications approach known as, shared decision making, in the Women’s & Children’s Health Clerkship. Our SPs are portraying a "mother" and "daughter" in this encounter.
SPs are trained extensively to portray their character’s role to fulfill specific learning objectives. In standardized sessions, SPs bring a consistent, measurable portrayal of their character so that each trainee receives the same experience. In simulated work, the SP is given a character with guidelines of their chief concern and social and medical histories; the SP then responds in an improvisational manner while remaining in character.

Our program follows the Association of SP Educators' (ASPE) Standards of Best Practice in the field of human simulation. Our SPs portray a wide variety of roles: from patient, to parent, to clinician. Our educational encounters are primarily sought to enhance communication skills, offering a safe, supportive, and controlled learning environment for trainees to grow in their clinical abilities.

How To Request SPs for Your Program

If you have questions about how SPs may be used in your work, please contact us and our SP Program's Assistant Director will consult with you. To explore your program’s use of SPs, complete the SP Program Online Request Form.

Interested in Becoming an SP?

We are interested in hiring individuals with acting, SP, or healthcare educator experience. Send us your resume detailing your relevant experience, why you are interested in becoming an SP, and headshot or current photo via email, and we will contact you. The program hires individuals annually in preparation for the start of each academic year.