New York, NY - The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) has appointed Katie Walker, a registered nurse and internationally-recognized leader in the field of health care simulation, to serve as the new Director of the HHC Institute for Medical Simulation and Advanced Learning (IMSAL). Ms. Walker will be responsible for the day-to-day management of HHC’s state-of-the art advanced training facility that helps healthcare professionals function as high-performing clinical teams in a wide variety of realistic medical scenarios to improve patient care.
Ms. Walker has contributed to the field of medical simulation for more than a decade by building new and innovative programs to improve performance and reduce errors in patient care. She worked to establish the largest national simulation program in the world that serves more than 200,000 healthcare workers and professional staff across her native country of Australia. She is the recipient of a Churchill Fellowship endowment grant , which she used to explore and assess the state of simulation in healthcare worldwide. Ms. Walker is also an active member and leader of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSIH), the largest international healthcare simulation member organization.
"After conducting an extensive search, we are fortunate to have found such a respected leader in the field," said Dr. Ross Wilson, Corporate Chief Medical Officer. "Her deep understanding of simulation as a learning and workforce development strategy will be vital to supporting our goal to be one of the safest healthcare organizations in the country and our continuous commitment to improve the delivery of care to the 1.3 million New Yorkers who depend on our services every year.”
"It is a privilege to have the opportunity to work with the unparalleled staff at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and be a part of the IMSAL team, who are making great strides to improve the quality of health care and patient safety for this country's largest municipal public hospital system," said Katie Walker.
The HHC Institute for Medical Simulation and Advanced Learning is a 10,000 square foot state-of-the art training facility in the Bronx that uses medical simulation technology and teaching methods to improve clinical learning, patient care and patient safety. The training facility features fully functional staged clinical environments like the ICU, OR or ED to help HHC medical and nursing professionals practice procedures and engage in teamwork scenarios to hone the clinical, communication and collaborative skills they need to reduce medical errors and make patient safety a priority. The center also houses the most advanced technology including a family of high-fidelity mannequins that add surprising realism to the learner’s experience. The HHC simulation program is modeled after similar programs at Harvard University, the Mayo Clinic and North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System. The Center is staffed by medical and education professionals who have trained nearly 3,000 medical, nursing and other HHC staff to date.
Ms. Walker began her career as a registered nurse at Mater Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, Australia, and studied infection rates in central venous lines in the oncology ward at Mater Adults Hospital where she also managed the immunization clinic. She was both the Acting Assistant Director of Nursing and Clinical Nurse educator at Mater Children’s Hospital where she facilitated hospital wide educational programs and quality improvement activities. She later became Acting Chief Executive Officer at the Queensland Health Skills Development Centre, where she was responsible for the development of curriculum and training around patient safety issues. She served as Simulation Development Manager at the Queensland Health Skills Development Center, and most recently served as Program Manager for the Simulated Learning Environments program, a key initiative of Health Workforce Australia.
Ms. Walker was appointed Co-Chair of the 2010 Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSIH) Annual Meeting and hosted its largest event to date which was attended by over 1,500 international delegates. She also serves on the SSIH Simulation Educator Certification Committee and is the Vice-Chair of the Affiliations Committee, which strives to expand the field of healthcare simulation through global reach and collaboration. In May 2011, Ms. Walker co-led the development and establishment of the first Asia-Pacific Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare which was held in Hong Kong. This meeting was the first of its kind in the region and was attended by over 500 participants.
Ms Walker is an Adjunct Lecturer in the School of Nursing at the University of Queensland and her interest lies in the econometric value of healthcare simulation, to decrease error and improve efficiency in health professional education. Her appointment to Director of the HHC medical simulation program was effective in December 2011.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) is a $6.7 billion integrated healthcare delivery system with its own 400,000 member health plan, MetroPlus, and is the largest municipal healthcare organization in the country. HHC serves 1.3 million New Yorkers every year and more than 475,000 are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 70 community based clinics. HHC Health and Home Care also provides in-home services for New Yorkers. HHC was the 2008 recipient of the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission's John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality. For more information, www.nyc.gov/hhc.