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NOVA’s Medical Education Campus prepares students for careers in healthcare with modern simulators and equipment


As the first specialized community college campus in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Medical Education Campus (MEC) at Northern Virginia Community College continues to offer exceptional quality education through realistic classroom instruction. The MEC is well-equipped with the most modern and technically-advanced equipment to ensure its graduates emerge and are prepared for their desired medical profession.

NOVA students interested in health-related programs learn from several uniquely designed simulation models housed at the MEC’s state-of-the-art facility. The Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program (DMS) new simulator, the CAE Vimedix Ob/Gyn, is used to teach students about scanning techniques and pathology recognition. Leigh Giles-Brown, DMS program director, said the CAE Vimedix Ob/Gyn is the most realistic ultrasound simulator available for obstetric imaging. This manikin-based system allows for its innovative software to interpret ultrasound images, make diagnoses and clinical decisions. Since summer 2017, students have used the CAE Vimedix Ob/Gyn Simulator in their DMS 242: Advanced OB/GYN Sonography course.

“This concept of using modern equipment to teach students creates a more seamless transition into various clinical settings,” said Giles-Brown. “It’s important for MEC faculty to use the CAE Vimedix Ultrasound Simulator since students rarely have the opportunity to scan obstetric pathology cases when they are in clinical rotations due to the sensitive nature of these exams. The MEC does an amazing job of using our instructional tools that best match what is used in professional healthcare settings. As a result, our students are better equipped for the workforce.”

NOVA’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Joint Review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JRC-DMS). Recently the MEC’s DMS program has been named to College Choice’s top 20 list of the Best Associate's in Medical Sonography Degrees.  

NOVA is one of only three community colleges in the Commonwealth of Virginia that also offers its Nursing and Allied Health students the opportunity to learn on an actual human cadaver. Since its inception in 2003, the MEC’s anatomy lab has used a fully-preserved human cadaver as an invaluable teaching tool during lab sessions. Now, a new SynDaver Anatomy Model, named after the company who produces the most realistic synthetic representation of human anatomy, serves as an alternative from fully-preserved human cadavers. According to MEC Lab Manager Don Johnson, the SynDaver Anatomy Model is an education-grade synthetic human cadaver, complete with bones, joints, muscles, organs and tendons found in normal human anatomy. The purchase of the SynDaver Anatomy Model was spearheaded by Johnson to enhance an interactive learning experience for students. 

The College also provides an additional opportunity to learn about anatomy and physiology through use of an Anatomage Table, a high-quality and interactive 3D visualization system for students in NOVA’s healthcare-related programs. This radiology software is not just a big hit for NOVA students; faculty also enjoy the interactive classroom instruction it offers in a more dynamic fashion. The high-resolution automated table is pre-loaded with several 3D features, including full male and female anatomical models uniquely designed to give the illusion that an actual human is positioned on an operating table. 

“With general dissection of human cadavers, it can be somewhat difficult to view the definition of veins, arteries and muscular structures for instructional purposes,” said Johnson. “High-fidelity patient simulators as well as virtual simulators serve as a supplement for instructing our students enrolled in anatomy, physiology, nursing and allied health programs. Instructors can customized and create a learning environment as well as program different medical complications and symptoms. Students can have the freedom of making mistakes and actually learning from them prior to entering the workforce as professional healthcare providers.”

Johnson, lab manager of the MEC’s Clinical Simulation Center was recently featured as a guest on With Good Reason’s segment “Learning on Medical Simulators” to discuss the MEC’s healthcare curriculum development.  With Good Reason is a weekly radio show and podcast produced by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. 

Listen to With Good Reason here.

Media Contact: Kristina Ogburn | 703.503.6338 | kogburn@nvcc.edu


Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.