OMAHA – The University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Simulation in Motion-Nebraska (SIM-NE) program recently held three virtual training events attended by more than 600 providers.

In April, SIM-NE held COVID-19 training related to patient surge preparation, leadership and the rapidly changing rural health care environment. The trainings, conducted via Facebook Live, included presentations, panel discussions and question and answer sessions.

  The surge response preparation training session on April 24 was presented by Sharon Medcalf, Ph.D., director of the Center for Biosecurity, Biopreparedness, and Emerging Infectious Diseases and assistant professor in the UNMC College of Public Health Department of Epidemiology.

On April 28, leadership training was addressed by Grant Anderson, director of emergency medical service for the city of Wahoo; John Bonta, M.D., emergency medicine physician, Bryan Health and medical director for multiple EMS agencies and Renee Engler, M.D., co-director of emergency services, Great Plains Health in North Platte, Nebraska, and medical director for two emergency medical services agencies in rural Nebraska.

  On April 30, the training focused on the rapidly changing environment created by COVID-19 in rural, primary care practices. Presenters were James Lawler, M.D., associate professor of medicine, UNMC Division of Infectious Diseases, and executive director of international programs and innovation, Global Center for Health Security at UNMC; and Jeffrey Harrison, M.D., professor and chair in the UNMC Department of Family Medicine.

  The UNMC iEXCEL visualization team created the training in cooperation with the Training, Simulation and Quarantine Center at UNMC. The video is archived at

  SIM-NE is a mobile training system that provides free statewide training, normally with four, 44-foot-long, customized trucks for providers of rural emergency medical services and health professionals in hospitals. The virtual training session was provided because the space within the mobile units does not allow for social distancing.

   SIM-NE plans to provide additional training opportunities. More information can be found on the SIM-NE website and Facebook at

  Since the program’s launch in 2017, SIM-NE mobile units have provided more than 20,000 hours of simulation training for more than 7,267 emergency medical providers in 87 of 93 Nebraska counties.

  SIM-NE was initially funded with a $5.5 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Current sources of funding come from private funds raised in partnership with the University of Nebraska Foundation and carryover funds through a no-cost extension from The Helmsley Charitable Trust and training partnerships. SIM-NE continues to develop a long-term sustainability plan to ensure free, accessible training throughout the state to rural EMS providers and critical access hospitals.

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