In The Spotlight: Allegheny Health Network
Center Spotlight

Submitted By: Nichole Cooper

Full Center Name: Simulation, Teaching and Academic Research (STAR) Center

Center Location: Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Year Opened: 2007

Center Mission Statement: The Allegheny Health Network Simulation, Teaching and Academic Research (STAR) Center, provides state-of-the-art training for healthcare professionals. Using the latest tools and techniques, the STAR Center hones the skills of today's healthcare providers, and prepares future clinicians for the fast-paced and challenging world of patient care. We value every patient, which is why students learn on highly advanced mannequins in our world-class simulation center before they enter a patient room. 

Bragging Points: 

  • International Accreditation: STAR Center was the first simulation center in Pittsburgh to achieve international accreditation by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. STAR became reaccredited in 2021 in the areas of Assessment, Teaching / Education, Systems Integration, and Research.

What makes your team work well?

  • We provide onboarding and ongoing training.
  • There is seamless and consistent communication between the STAR team, course facilitators and standardized patients.
  • STAR holds practice sessions where SPs can prepare and network with one another.

Additional Information About Your Center

STAR Center along with the AHN Center for Inclusion Health has developed an immersive training experience for residents focused on communicating and caring for our transgender/non-binary patients. 

STAR Center has most recently been increasing the use of standardized patients with behavioral and mental health scenarios, most notably in the OB department. The desired outcomes have been focused on staff becoming skilled in trauma informed care techniques. 

We are working toward incorporating standardized patients into non-clinical work throughout the enterprise.

Learner Groups Supported 

  • Medical/ Osteopathic Students
  • Medical Center/Health Care Employees 
  • Nurses
  • Occupational Therapy 
  • Pharmacy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Physician Assistants 
  • Practicing Physicians 
  • Residencies/GME
  • Respiratory Therapy 
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Biomedical engineers
  • Nursing students
  • Certified clinic medical assistants
  • Patient care technicians
  • Prehospital/lifeflight hospice
  • Skilled nursing facilities
  • CRNA
  • Middle school students (STEMM)

Is there a GTA/MUTA program? 


Who staffs the GTA/MUTA program 

SPs trained specifically for the GTA/MUTA program

Center Name By the Numbers: 

  • Classroom/Seminar Room: 6
  • Control Room: 3
  • Counseling Room:  5
  • Critical Care Room: 7
  • Debriefing Room: 4
  • Exam Room: 6
  • Lounge/Kitchen/SP Staging Room: 2
  • Monitoring Room: 3
  • Residential/Home Visit Room: 4
  • Virtual Reality Space: 1
  • Do the counseling/exam Rooms have 1-way mirrors? Some with, some without
  • Recording System: Laerdal
  • Employees/Staff of Center or Program (excluding SP): 10
  • Staff Managing SP Program: 1
  • Number of SPs: 60+
  • Total SP Hours Worked in One Year: 900-1000 per year


Please direct any questions about Allegheny Health Network Simulation, Teaching and Academic Research (STAR) Center to Nichole Cooper

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The mission of the ASPE Center Spotlight is to connect simulation centers and promote interagency and interdisciplinary collaboration in SP and simulation methodology.