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Tami Merryman RN, MSN, FACHE

Tami Merryman is Vice President of the Center for Quality Improvement and Innovation for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), an integrated health care delivery system in Pittsburgh, PA with over 19 hospitals and $7.0 billion in revenue. UPMC Health System also operates the UPMC Health Plan with over 1,000,000 covered lives. The primary mission of the Center for Quality Improvement and Innovation is to partner with hospital leadership to change care delivery systems in support of the UPMC vision of creating the health system of the future – whereby the right patient gets the right care, at the right time…every time.

Ms. Merryman is also the UPMC Liaison to the Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation Education and Research (WISER) and President of Sim Medical, a UPMC subsidiary with expertise in the creation and management of integrated healthcare simulation training programs.

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Paul Phrampus, MD - Director of The Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education and Research

Dr. Phrampus is the Director of the Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education and Research (WISER). He received a B.S. in Biology from Old Dominion University and an M.D. from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia. He completed residency training at the University of Pittsburgh where he now holds appointments of Associate Professor in the Departments of Emergency Medicine and Anesthesiology of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Dr. Phrampus has been very active in patient safety efforts throughout UPMC. He is an active member of the Quality Patient Care Committee of the UPMC Board of Directors. He has overseen substantial programmatic growth of the institute including expanding the role of simulation education for practicing healthcare providers. He has overseen the expansion of WISER capabilities in developing a distributive model of management for the main campus of WISER as well as the satellites centers that have been deployed throughout the UPMC Health System.

Within the domain of airway management in the Emergency Department he led a team to create an airway algorithm and an accompanying difficult airway management simulation course specific to the practice of Emergency Medicine. This program has now been completed by over 200 physicians including the entire emergency medicine faculty staff of the UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. This course and its safety oriented principles have been deployed across the emergency departments of the UPMC Health System as well as other institutions across the country.

Dr. Phrampus has an extensive background in Emergency Medical Services and serves as an active EMS medical director. He has deployed simulation technology for both testing as well as competency assessment measures in EMS services in Southwestern Pennsylvania. He co-authored a simulation course for flight crew training for Stat Medevac, which operates 16 helicopters, multiple fixed wing aircraft and employs over 200 crew members, flying over 12,000 missions per year. He led a team to develop a difficult airway management for EMS providers which is targeting the 2,000 paramedics in the Southwestern Pennsylvania area.

Dr. Phrampus serves in a leadership role in the national simulation efforts through program committee leadership for the Society for Simulation and Healthcare’s International Annual Meeting. He is an inaugural member of the Journal Simulation and Healthcare. He has traveled extensively around the world lecturing as well as conducting simulation workshops, demonstrations and assisting in proliferation of successful simulation start-up programs. In addition to the United states his education efforts have included academic institutions and hospitals in Australia, China, Tibet, India, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Singapore as well as Germany.

He has been active in education for many years and was recently awarded the faculty excellence award by the University of Pittsburgh Emergency Medicine Residency as well as the Clerkship Preceptor of the Year award from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is a frequent lecturer on various topics in medicine. His interests in education include the implementation of technology into the world of education to increase the efficiency of learning and developing models of assessment methods for practicing healthcare providers. He has years of experience with computer system and electronics gained from his years of service in the United States Navy.

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John O’Donnell, CRNA, MSN - Director of University of Pittsburgh Nurse Anesthesia Program. Associate Director of Nursing, WISER

John O'Donnell completed his BSN from Carlow College (now Carlow University) in 1983 and his MSN from the University of Pittsburgh in 1991. He is a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and plans to complete the degree this Fall. John is well known for his dedication to the University and to nursing and on May 20, 2006 was named a Distinguished Alumni of the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing.

His professional career as a nurse has spanned med-surg, oncology, PACU, obstetrics, ICU care, and since 1991- nurse anesthesia. He is currently Director of the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing Nurse Anesthesia Program. He has been Director since 1994 and since 1998 has led the program to a Top 10 Graduate Nurse Anesthesia Program ranking according to US News and World Report. John currently Chairs the Clinical Advisory Committee of the Nurse Anesthesia Program and co-chairs the SEGUE (Simulation Efforts in Graduate and Undergraduate Education) Committee at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing.

O'Donnell has been active in human simulation education since 1994 and recently accepted the position of Associate Director for non-medical professional simulation at WISER and consults in nursing simulation efforts for undergraduate and graduate nursing education as well as for practicing nurses in the 19 hospitals of the UPMC health system. He has been involved on multiple committees at WISER including steering, research and publication.

O'Donnell is a member of the Board of Directors of the national Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) and serves as only 1 of 2 CRNAs on the Board. Areas of scholarly and research interest include patient safety, multidisciplinary simulation interventions supported by web based curriculum, case-based education in anesthesia, and epidemiology related to patient and provider safety. He has served as a consultant and speaker in safety and simulation at the local, national and international levels.

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Nigel Wynne, BSc(Hons), PGCERT - Senior Academic - Learning and Teaching, Learning Partnerships Development Unit, Faculty of Health, Birmingham City University, UK

Nigel qualified in the UK as an RN in Adult Nursing in 1992 and has worked at Birmingham City University, as an academic member of staff since 2000. Working within a Faculty of Health with over 7000 students, 3000 of which are enrolled on pre-registration nursing courses much of his work over the past 7 years has focussed upon the design and dissemination of scalable learning and teaching innovations that address diversity and enhanced preparation for practice.

Appointed to the role of Senior Academic in Learning and Teaching in 2005 he is co-ordinating a wide range of learning and teaching activities. As line manager of the Faculty’s Learning Technologist team he is leading on a number of online simulation developments involving both 2D and Virtual World platforms.

Nigel played a central role in the application process that led to the University’s award by the Higher Education Funding Council of Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) status in 2005 which resulted in £4.2 million of funding to promote Stakeholder Learning Partnerships. His CETL responsibilities include leadership of the Just in Time Learning work stream that explores the application of webcasting, session capture, text messaging, mobile learning and podcasting technologies in order to promote more flexible, distributed and student centred learning.

An invited member of the UK’s National Learning and Teaching Experts Group and holder of Faculty and University Teaching Fellowships he was this year conferred by the Higher Education Academy with National Teaching Fellow status in recognition of the University and emerging sector wide impact his work is having.

Nigel has played a key role in the Faculty’s rapidly growing higher fidelity simulation programme and is facilitating the wide uptake of simulation across the Faculty of Health and more widely across the University. A member of the Faculty’s Simulation and Skills Steering Group he has developed with colleagues a model of simulation design known as Constructively Aligned Multiple Modality Simulation (CAMMS). CAMMS promotes the integration of multiple simulation modalities within a framework informed by education and curriculum design theory and is being used across the Faculty to support the embedding of simulation focussed learning.

Nigel is currently completing an MA Education (Research) which explores the impact that simulation has on learner behaviour and the extent to which alignment of simulation modalities can promote suspension of disbelief amongst learners engaged in simulation learning activities.

An invited speaker on simulation learning at a range of national and international forums Nigel was conferred with adjunct Faculty status by the University of Pittsburgh in 2007 and is playing a central role in a number of exciting collaborative developments with the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Nursing.

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Helen Burns RN, PhD - Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Clinical Education, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing

Dr. Burns is an associate professor in the Department of Health and Community Systems and is the Associate Dean for Clinical Education at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. In this role, she oversees the undergraduate and master’s programs and directs the research dissemination and translation core for the School's Center for Research in Chronic Disorders (CRCD).

She has over 6 years experience in determining the needs of target audiences through research and interviews. She would also compare her ideas with those of competitors and/or colleagues. She was also, a presenter for the Annual Nursing Horizons event 5 years ago for the School of Nursing at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Burns has 30 years of experience as a clinician, educator, and administrator in acute care community hospitals, academic health care and public health. Prior to joining the University, Dr. Burns served as Deputy Secretary for Health Planning and Assessment, Pennsylvania Department of Health where she held various management positions within the Department of Health. She also has had several nursing positions with Westmoreland Regional Hospital and Latrobe Area Hospital. Dr. Burns has published in a variety of journals, presented numerous presentations and has received a number of nursing awards.

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Richard Kyle BSE, MS - Director of Patient Simulation Laboratory USUHS / DOD, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda MD

Mr. Richard Kyle, AKA the "Wizard of Simulation" is currently the Director of the USUHS Patient Simulation Laboratory. He has been active in simulation education since 1997. Mr. Kyle received his BSE in Fluid Mechanics and Biomedical Engineering from Catholic University (Washington, DC) in 1978 and his MS in Physical Chemistry from Catholic University (Washington, DC) in 1982.

  • Professional Societies: Society for Simulation in Healthcare, SCCM, USNI, IEEE
  • Professional Committees: SSH/International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare
  • Editor: Journal of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare
  • Award: Interdisciplinary Contributions Award, USU GSN, 16 May 2006

Mr. Kyle has been been published in many journals and medical simulation education publications

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Val Howard RN, EdD - Associate Professor of Nursing and Simulation Coordinator, Robert Morris University, Pittsburgh, PA

As simulation coordinator at Robert Morris University, Dr. Howard has designed and implemented high fidelity simulation scenarios throughout the nursing curriculum. Her research interests include the use of simulation in education specifically related to student learning outcomes, with her most recent study entitled, A Comparison of Educational Strategies for the Acquisition of Medical-surgical Nursing Knowledge and Critical Thinking Skills: Human patient simulator vs. the Interactive Case Study Approach. She is co-author of the new Elsevier Simulation Learning System. Dr. Howard has presented numerous times for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing regarding the integration of technology in the nursing curriculum, and also for the Mosby Faculty Development Institute with simulation related topics.

With over 12 years experience in higher education, Dr. Howard is currently responsible for undergraduate and graduate instruction in nursing, with a concentration in medical-surgical content, ethics, and research / evidence based practice. She also serves as a leader among the faculty, serving as the Academic Integrity Council Chair for Robert Morris University, and the department head for nursing for the past two years. Most recently, she presented for the Sigma Theta Tau International Research Congress in Singapore.

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Geoffrey T. Miller, EMT-P - Director, Research and Curriculum Development, Division of Prehospital and Emergency Healthcare, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education, Miami, FL

Geoffrey Tobias Miller is the Associate Director of Research and Curriculum Development for the Division of Prehospital and Emergency Healthcare at the Michael S. Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education (GCRME), University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Geoff began his career in public safety over 18 years ago. Previously, Geoff worked as a Paramedic Firefighter with Alachua County Fire Rescue before moving into Emergency Medical Services (EMS) education. During his time with Alachua County Fire Rescue, he also oversaw projects on system utilization, hospital diversions and assisted in the development and implementation of E911 system upgrades, electronic patient tracking and reporting and medical care protocol refinements. Following his service in fire rescue, Geoff served as Associate Professor of EMS programs at Santa Fe Community College, in Gainesville, Florida. There he led the schools participation in the pilot testing of the USDOT national standard curriculum for Paramedics as a field test site.

Geoff joined the GCRME over 8 years ago and has since worked in the areas of patient simulation, interactive multimedia computer learning systems, emergency medical skills training, terrorism response and disaster medical response and management. He is active in the areas of applied outcomes research in education, with an emphasis on the creation and improvement of methods of clinical competence assessment using advanced educational technology and simulation. Presently Geoff develops, implements, disseminates and evaluates innovative EMS curricula and assessment systems that are used by prehospital providers, medical schools and US Army medial teams throughout the United States.

Geoff is actively engaged in scholarly research and publication in EMS practice and education. He has coauthored several books including the Jones and Bartlett textbooks and instructor resource materials for 'National Incident Management System: Principles and Practice" and "Arrhythmia Recognition the Art of Interpretation". Geoff is a frequent author in emergency medical services and emergency care journals authoring and co-authoring numerous articles. He is a frequent invited speaker at state and national and international conferences.

Geoff is a member of numerous local, state and national EMS professional organizations and committees advising fire rescue, emergency medical services, law enforcement, public health and hospitals. Geoff is also an active member of Florida and National educational organizations and has served twice as the President of the Florida Association of EMS Educators. In 2000, Geoff was recognized as the Paramedic Instructor of the Year by the Florida Association of EMS Educators. In 2003, he was recognized as the EMS Educator of the Year by the State of Florida Department of Health Bureau of EMS. In 2005 he received the Mary Ann Talley award for EMS education from the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.

Sharon Decker, RN, PhD, ACNS-BC, CCRN, ANEF - Professor and Director of Clinical Simulations, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing

Dr. Sharon Decker is currently teaching Undergraduate and Graduate students in the School of Nursing at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. She has taught courses from the fundamentals to advanced medical search. Dr. Decker has presented at multiple conferences and provided consultation for nursing schools through-out the United States related to the integration of simulation into various curricula. She has been the recipient of numerous grants to support her research and has been recognized multiple times for her excellence in teaching.

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Jeffrey Groom, PhD, CRNA - Director and Associate Professor of Anesthesiology Nursing, and Director – Simulation, Technology and Research Center (STAR-Center) College of Nursing and Health Sciences - Florida International University, Miami, Florida

Jeffrey Groom, PhD, CRNA is a seasoned educator, clinician, and researcher. Combining his clinical background and his doctorate in instructional technology focusing on learning and simulation, Dr. Groom has utilized simulation based instruction, teaching paramedics, nurses, physicians and nurse anesthetists for over 15 years. His research investigating the role of medical simulation in improving medical decision making under stress received first place award recognition at the 2006 International Meeting on Medical Simulation. Dr. Groom is an active and founding member of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare where he serves on both the Committees for Education and Technical Standards and serves as a reviewer for the Journal for Simulation in Healthcare. Dr. Groom is currently Director and Associate Professor of Anesthesiology Nursing at Florida International University, Miami, Florida and also an adjunct instructor for emergency medical instruction and simulation at the University of Miami, Gordon Center for Research in Medical Education. He holds medical staff privileges for clinical practice with the Department of Anesthesiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Miami Beach, Florida.

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Beth Kuzminsky, RN, MSN - Lead Nursing Curriculum Developer, WISER. Associate, UPMC Center for Quality Improvement and Innovation

Beth Kuzminsky has been a nurse at UPMC since 1996. Ms. Kuzminsky received her BSN from the Pennsylvania State University in 1996. Beth received her MSN in Nursing Education from the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. Beth’s professional career as a nurse has consisted of cardiology, IV specialty nursing, nursing education and currently focuses on patient safety, innovations in healthcare, patient centered care and nursing simulation curriculum development for WISER. She has presented in these areas locally, regionally, and nationally.

Kuzminsky’s content expertise has been valuable in course development for professional nursing courses as well as for courses for nursing students.

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Joseph S. Goode, Jr., BA, MSN, CRNA - Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Nurse Anesthesia Program

Joseph Goode is a member of the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Nurse Anesthesia Program. He has been involved in both the clinical and laboratory research fields since 1979 with primary areas of focus in High Frequency Jet Ventilation, airway management, respiratory physiology, and simulation education and patient safety. Mr. Goode began his initial academic training at the University of Michigan and worked in the Biochemistry Core of the Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center. In 1985 he joined the staff of the Anesthesia Research Department at Montefiore University Hospital of Pittsburgh under the direction of Dr. Miroslav Klain, a department that frequently collaborated with the Resuscitation Research Center under the direction of Dr. Peter Safar. Mr. Goode has presented his work at a variety of conferences and has spoken on or been published in areas as diverse as anesthesia, artificial organ development, emergency medicine, simulation education and the history of anesthesia. Mr. Goode has received the Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists CRNA Clinician of the Year Award in 2004 and the Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists Didactic Instructor of the Year Award in 2006. He has additional interests in the history and philosophy of biology and medicine, particularly in the history of anesthesia and perceptions of pain, man-machine interactions and the interaction of art and the 'collective iconography' on social movements and technologic change.

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Benjamin W. Berg, MD - Director of Simulation. U. Hawaii JA Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii

Benjamin W Berg was born in London UK, and received his M.D. degree from the Tufts University School of Medicine. He completed Internal Medicine residency and fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington DC. He is board certified in these specialties. Dr. Berg retired from the US Army in 2005. He served as the Internal Medicine Residency Director, Chairman of the Institutional Review Board, and as the Director of Graduate Medical Education at Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu HI. Dr. Berg has conducted multiple clinical telemedicine and distance learning programs and is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of Simulation at the Telehealth Research Institute, University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine. His primary research interests include active work in advanced telemedicine for intensive care unit patients, simulation based medical education, and distance learning using simulation and advanced technologies.

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Thomas Dongilli, CerAT - Director of Operations, WISER

Tom Dongilli is Director of Operations for the WISER Institute. Prior to this position, he was the senior clinical simulation specialist for Laerdal Medical Corp. In that position, Tom would train simulation customers on the set up and maintenance of their simulators, curriculum development, and simulation center design and organization. In 1999 Tom helped design and open the Thomas Jefferson University Center for Medical simulation, where he served as the Chief Instructor. His primary responsibilities were to work with staff from different departments and help them create simulation courses based on their curriculum needs. Tom was also employed by MEDSIM Inc., a simulation company, where he worked with simulation center customers helping them start and improve their programs. Initially, Tom was the Coordinator Technologist for the University of Pittsburgh's Human Simulation Center. He assisted staff on course design, preparation, and maintaining operating the simulator. To date, Tom has run thousands of simulation based training sessions. He contributes expert knowledge and experience in the practical design, implementation, maintenance and monitoring of simulation based medical learning systems.

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John Lutz, BS - Director of Information Technology, WISER

John Lutz is the lead systems developer and software engineer for the Departments of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine and WISER. He is also chair of the Web Technology Committee for these groups. He provides guidance for all software development projects, as well as overseeing two other developers within the group. John has developed a vast array of applications utilizing web and other development tools, covering all facets of operations for these groups, including clinical and academic education, clinical scheduling and patient information, clinical quality improvement, clinical efficiency, billing and administrative functions, as well as leading the implementation and re-engineering of both Inter- and Intra-net sites for these groups. John has over 15 years of experience in software engineering, web technologies, and UNIX and Windows system administration.

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Suzan Kardong-Edgren PhD, RN - Assistant Professor, Washington State University, Spokane, WA

Suzan earned her PhD at Texas Womans University in Denton, TX in 2004. Her education also includes a Health studies/ MS in Nursing from Texas Womans University in 1993 and a BSN from the University of Nevada in 1976.

Suzan has been using simulation in education for 5 years, teaching CE in how to teach with simulation and is Editor in Chief of Clinical Simulation in Nursing.

Suzan is a Project Director for Laerdal. and is involved with the American Heart Association, National League for Nursing multi-site, multi arm study evaluating different approaches to teaching CPR and ACLS.

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Nicolette C. Mininni, RN, MEd, CCRN - Advanced Practice Nurse, Critical Care, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center


  • BS Nursing, 1979, University of Akron, Ohio
  • MEd, 1997, Penn State University, New Kensington Campus, PA
  • Currently enrolled – University of Pittsburgh, School of Nursing, MSN Program

Current Responsibilities

  • Employed at UPMC, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, PA since July 1987.
  • Current role is Advanced Practice Nurse for Critical Care at the UPMC Shadyside Campus. Areas of responsibility include ongoing education for experienced staff and assisting with orientation of new staff in critical care, member of the Critical Care Value Analysis Team for products.
  • Serve as co-chair for the UPMC Shadyside MERIT Committee since 2002 and have served as co-chair of the UPMC Presbyterian MERIT Committee. Oversee the UPMC Shadyside Rapid Response System, including responder and staff education.
  • Faculty at The Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education and Research (WISES Center). Facilitator for Crisis Team Training and assisting with program revisions.
  • American Heart Association BLS and ACLS Regional Faculty since 1997.

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Aimee Smith, BS - Production Manager, Curriculum Development, WISER

Aimee oversees the planning, organizing, and coordinating of curriculum at WISER. She has created a detailed process which helps to streamline curriculum production. The process includes step by step instructions and templates for subject matter experts to easily develop course material, quizzes, surveys, and evaluations. Aimee is also directly involved in the creation of course multimedia which includes images, Flash animations, and videos.

Aimee works with subject matter experts and course authors to develop coursework used at the WISER institute as well as other UPMC satellite centers. She also supervises the entire process for curriculum production.

Aimee has presented her curriculum development process at multiple local and international conferences.

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Susan Lucot, MSN RN - Nurse Educator, WISER/SimMedical

Robert Morris University – BSN (2005) and MSN (2007)
United States Navy (USN) - Norfolk Naval Shipyard – Radiological Controls Technician Certification (1999)
Bechtel Bettis, Inc – United States Navy Radiological Controls Technician Instructor (2000)
Carlow College – BS in Health Science (1996)
Jefferson Technical College– AS in Medical Laboratory Technology (1981)

Clinical Nursing Instructor (Adult Acute Care) – Robert Morris University
Home Health Nurse – PRN/Ambassador Nursing
Clinical Staff Nurse UPMC Shadyside Telemetry/Step-down cardio-thoracic unit
Radiological Controls Trainer – Bechtel Bettis, Inc
Medical Technologist – UPMC

Simulation Training for CPR – accepted for the 2009 International Meeting for Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH)

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Jon Mazur - Simulation Specialist, WISER

Jon Mazur is one of two Simulation Specialists at WISER Institute. His responsibilities include day to day operations and setup of medical, audio/video, computer and other related equipment as needed for use in various Simulation courses. He is responsible for daily and monthly preventive maintenance on the simulators. Jon also offers support during medical education courses for various departments including Anesthesia, CCM, and Emergency Medicine.

Jon came to WISER after 15 years in the Purchasing Department at UPMC where he helped to implement an online purchasing and inventory control system. Jon’s educational background includes Electrical Engineering technology and Computer Science.

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Melissa Wanker, BS - Coordinator of Simulation Services, WISER

Melissa Wanker is Coordinator of Simulation Services for the Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation Education and Research (WISER). Melissa is responsible for the day to day operations of the world class multidisciplinary training and research facility. She also is an instructor for the Laerdal Installation and Programming course that is held on a monthly basis at WISER. Prior to this position she was the Lead Anesthesia Technologist of UPMC Montefiore Hospital for nine years. She also worked as an Anesthesia Technologist at West Virginia University, Ruby Memorial Hospital for two years. Melissa attended Carlow University where she completed an Associate Degree in Anesthesia Technology in 1996 and a Bachelor Degree in Health Science Business Management in 2007.

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