University of South Florida

CAMLS advances research in virtual and augmented reality for simulation training

With virtual and augmented reality becoming more prominent, the USF Health Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) is expanding its research efforts to explore the use of virtual and augmented reality in medical simulation training. 

“Traditionally, health care simulation has been actors, task-trainers, and mannequins. Virtual reality allows us to be fully immersed in an alternate world and that world can be an operating room, an outpatient clinic, or an ambulance, and be changed quickly. You will really feel like you’re there, which is challenging to do in a simulation center.” said Yasuharu “Haru” Okuda, MD, FACEP, FSSH, executive director for USF Health CAMLS and associate vice president for USF Health Interprofessional Education and Practice.

As the research mission at CAMLS develops, the goal is to easily export its virtual medical simulation trainings to different parts of the world so other medical professionals can take advantage of the research expertise there.

“You can connect to VR training scenarios from anywhere. You will be able to bring it to your home, bring it to your classroom, and conduct a training within only a headset that is just as powerful as anything in person,” Dr. Okuda said.

Shannon Bailey, PhD, Sr. Human Factors Scientist for USF Health CAMLS and assistant professor for the Department of Medical Education at the Morsani College of Medicine.

To help expand its research efforts, CAMLS hired a PhD, tenure-track researcher, Shannon Bailey. She has over 10 years of experience designing and testing extended reality (XR) training simulations and educational games. In her research, she explores how augmented, virtual, and extended reality technology can be used to inspire effective student learning through adaptive training and natural user interfaces.

Before coming to CAMLS, Dr. Bailey worked for the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD). After gaining extensive experience in military simulation training, she transitioned to the field of medical simulation training as a researcher director for a technology company called Immertec, which develops medical simulation training to impact how medical professionals learn.

“This research is important because it is moving the field forward by systematically testing different ways to approach simulation training and finding ways to optimize the training for both the learner and the medical professionals, which could lead to better outcomes for patients,” said Dr. Shannon Bailey, assistant professor for the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine.

VR at CAMLS will not replace real-world mannequin-based training,” Dr. Okuda said, but offering a resource to those who lack access to high-fidelity simulation centers allows them to experience the same level of training and experience in a virtual environment. 

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Shannon Bailey as our first PhD tenure-track researcher at CAMLS. What she brings to CAMLS is the ability for us to really lean into this area of extended reality and then apply it into a health care academic setting,” said Dr. Okuda. 

Story and video by Ryan Rossy, USF Health Communications and Marketing

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