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UofL Pediatrics specialists earn Paul Weber teaching award

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville recognizes Aaron Calhoun, M.D., and Katherine Potter, M.D., for their work with the Simulation for Pediatric Assessment, Resuscitation and Communication (SPARC) program by presenting them with the Paul Weber Award for Departmental Excellence in Teaching.

Calhoun and Potter, critical care specialists for UofL Pediatrics, developed SPARC to teach UofL Pediatrics faculty, fellows and residents how to respond to medical and “relational” crises. SPARC uses high-fidelity medical simulation to bring critical situations to life without presenting any real harm to patients. The simulations are run in a realistic environment. This program replaced the “mock code” residents used to perform.

SPARC uses these simulations to teach crisis management skills, clinical knowledge under high pressure, and the difficulty of presenting difficult news to families to pediatric staff. Since its creation in 2008, SPARC has become part of the required curriculum for pediatric residents and nursing staff. Because Calhoun and Potter use SPARC as a teaching tool, each session is taped for future review and the video showcases the intense situations the mannequin emulates and the effect of the residents’ actions as the crisis develops.

 “It’s great to see the residents’ and nurses’ crisis management skills improve because of SPARC,” Calhoun said. “We’re excited to use this money to expand the program’s outreach capabilities so that others can see similar benefits.”

Calhoun and Potter received the Paul Weber Award in May and will be presented with a $25,000 cash award.

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