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Simulation lab patient on bed

D'Youville & Catholic Health form a Partnership for Training, Education

The agreement brings DYC healthcare students to Catholic Health’s downtown simulation lab for interprofessional training.

Buffalo, New York – February 9, 2016 – Health Profession faculty researchers at D’Youville College (DYC) who designed a novel inter-professional education (IPE) program for students in healthcare majors have partnered with Catholic Health to augment the training opportunities for its employees, and to expand innovative education experiences for DYC students.

The agreement brings D’Youville students in health professions (eight majors, from nursing to occupational therapy, to pharmacy) to Catholic Health’s newly-built, state-of-the-art, downtown facility, Margaret L. Wendt Simulation and Training Center, for inter-professional education. In return, D’Youville faculty will train Catholic Health employees in interdisciplinary collaboration practices.

The D'Youville–Catholic Health partnership extends the college's clinical experience offerings for students. The clinical simulation labs are unique: professional actors, provided by Dramatic Solutions, play out the role of patients, with scripts and scenarios designed by D’Youville faculty that emulate real-life scenarios in settings of hospital, outpatient clinic, and home. The sessions are live-streamed, so students can view each health-care discipline’s interaction with “patients.” The students debrief as a group and share insights from their different clinical perspectives.

To date, over 1,500 health-profession students have graduated from DYC with this unique experience, which prepares them to work as a team and to utilize fellow health professionals in providing patient-centered care. The success of the program is recognized nationally as being one of the most comprehensive, and it has been replicated at several other institutions. Over 30 faculty work together in the program and are productive in related scholarship activities.

The partnership further sets D'Youville apart as a leader in adapting to improved national health-care education standards. As one of just a small group of U.S. colleges and universities offering IPE programs in the health-care professions, D'Youville is meeting a need established by global and national institutions, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pew Health Commission, and the Institute of Medicine. These groups have identified IPE as a priority in health-care learning because the method promotes teamwork and improved communications between health-care professionals.

“Why should health-care providers collaborate? How does that impact the health of a patient? It’s all about patient outcomes focused around adherence and communication," says Karen Panzarella, PT, PhD, an associate professor of physical therapy at D’Youville. Panzarella serves as co-principal investigator of the project, with Lynn C. Rivers, PT, PhD, an associate professor and chair of D’Youville’s Physical Therapy program. The development of the center is funded by a grant from the J. Warren Perry and Charles Donald Perry Memorial Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo. Panzarella and Rivers seek the continued expansion of the program, in search of new collaborations and partnerships with area providers.

"Our goals are to construct an Interprofessional Clinical Advancement Center on the D’Youville campus, to continue embedding interdisciplinary experiences within our curriculums, to replace traditional single discipline classrooms and labs.”

To see D'Youville's ICAC program in action, watch or visit the ICAC website.


Dr. Karen Panzarella
Phone: 716-829-7835 or