Accreditation News









We hope this new communique is an exciting addition to the Accreditation Community of which you are a part of!  Friends, 

   Many thanks to Keith Beaulieu, JJ Jaegar and Deb Tauber for the outstanding way they have constructed this newsletter.  Their highlights are a wonderful addition to our Accreditation Communique. 

   We continue to forge forward in so many areas.  We held a Face To Face in August where we were able to review our progress on many fronts including the Wisehive on-line application process, which is nearing completion as we speak.  We hope to go live in January 2020 with an on-line application process.  This will streamline much of what we do on a day-to-day basis.  We also covered a number standing activities to enhance our training for our accreditation  reviewers.  A call for new reviewers will be going out later this month.

   Our On-Line course will go live in February 2020 with each of our modules available in our Moodle Course.  These modules are targeting folks who are preparing to apply (or reapply) for accreditation and will help folks understand the standards that are in place.

   We now have a “working document” of standards for the accreditation of Fellowship Programs.  If you are currently accredited, you are eligible to apply mid-cycle to have your Simulation Fellowship Program accredited by SSH. 

   Please feel free to reach out to me with your suggestions and ideas to improve the Accreditation process, we always want to hear from our constituency. 

   Thank you for being a part of our growing community, we appreciate you.

Dawn M Schocken

Chair, SSH Accreditation Council


IMSH 2020 (January 18-20, 2020)    

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New Reviewer Training

NEW REVIEWER training that encompasses Core and 1-2 other areas from a sample application.   Reviewers will get to decide if the criteria is met and be able to have discussions with team leads and other seasoned reviewers.

Date: January 18, Saturday

Time: 1pm – 5pm

Reviewer Training Part 2

This will be for EVERYONE that is a current reviewer. During this training, reviewers will get to review a Program that will apply for C-T,A, S, F. We will be discussing the new Fellowship Standards.

Date: January 19, Sunday

Time: 8am – 12:30pm

Accreditation Exemplary Practices Panel

Date: January 20, Monday

Time: 12pm – 1:15pm

Accreditation Top 10

Date: January 21, Tuesday

Time: 12pm – 1:15pm

The Risk Management Sub Committee has expanded we would like to welcome two new members Greg Gilbert and Keith Beaulieu. We look forward to working with them to mitigate Accreditation review risks.

The team worked on two new documents. Stay tuned, they are on their way to you. The first is a revision of the conflict of interest form. Accreditation Reviewers will complete this form annually. Recognizing that Accreditation Reviewers job roles are expanding, SSIH wants to make sure that when assigning reviewers there is no conflict or perceived conflict of interest.

A new policy is on its way, the Recording Policy for all accreditation review meetings. As a way of mitigating risk, SSIH asks that all accreditation review meetings must be recorded. The recording will live in DropBox until a Board of Review decision is made, whether to grant accreditation or until the appeal process is complete.

On August 15th and 16th, several of the Accreditation Council members met for a face to face meeting to discuss accreditation business. New changes will be coming from the various committees within the council. Some of them include;

  • The Accreditation Coordinator will not be on all reviewer calls and we will use Zoom the Audio Video (AV) solution for recording to improve clarification and standardization. The Coordinator will be on first call to assist with all logistics, concerns, and travel and then again on the third call. All three calls will be AV recorded for future reference as needed and then destroyed after it has been determined they are no longer needed. In the event a program challenges a Board Decision regarding their accreditation final decision, the recordings can be used for review of actual discussions.
  • The group looked at the new platform Wizehive and discussed the features We will be using some trial applications for a soft launch with the May applications. In December of 2020, all applications will be entered through the Wizehive platform. The platform is designed to create a streamline process for Programs to apply and a more standardized way for reviewers to address Conflict of interest (COI). All reviewers will need to sign the COI annually in the Wizehive platform. In the event of an actual COI, the reviewer will then need to complete a COI management plan document.
  • Reviewer training dates and times were determined for IMSH- Saturday afternoon from 1-5 will be for new reviewers and Sunday Morning 8-12:30 for current reviewers. There will be a Wizehive overview at the meeting.
  • The group reviewed the newly authored Fellowship standards. A few programs will be Beta testing this in the near future.


 Accreditation has enjoyed many successes over the last decade. The annual trend of programs becoming accredited have continued to grow.  Core and teaching continues to be the most popular type of accreditation.  Provisional accreditation continues to be a popular choice.

Based on the data provided to the organization during the application process, the majority of the programs (84%) are from the United States.

79% of programs that were accredited have one (1) site

57% of programs employ seven (7) or more FTEs

56% of programs report they have 10,000 of more contact hours annually




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The Accreditation News is a product of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare by the members of the Accreditation Council.

If you would like to contribute to Accreditation News or have an idea, please contact


Cate Nicholas, EdD, MS, PA

Vermont is a beautiful place. Home to quant little villages surrounded by rolling hills dotted with small dairy farms, and dense forests that produce brilliant foliage right around this time of year. People from all over the world come to Vermont to see the autumn spectacle.

Vermont is also home to one of the country’s most prominent simulationists and experts on the standardized patient methodologies, Doctor Cate Nicholas, EdD, MS, PA. Among her many accomplishment and accolades, Dr. Nicholas has now been named Reviewer of the Quarter by the Accreditation Council for the Society for Simulation in Healthcare. And while not a native of Vermont, she has made a home for herself and her family in Burlington and works for the University of Vermont and is the Director of Operations for the Fletcher Allen Health Care Clinical Simulation Laboratory.

Nicholas has extensive experience in clinical healthcare, working as a Physician’s Assistant for over 30 years, primarily in women’s health and reproductive health. Ironically, that wasn’t her original career plan, although her father helped move her toward the career she ended up choosing. “My first love was history, and I wanted to get a degree in history,” Cate explains. “But my dad, who was a child of the Depression and a very practical man, heard this and asked me where I thought I was going to get a job with a history degree. And I looked at him and said, well I have no idea!” So her father, who at that time worked at a medical facility on Long Island, New York (where Cate grew up) convinced her to look at a career in the world of healthcare. She finally decided on becoming a Medical Technician and received her Master’s Degree from University of Vermont in 1976. After graduation, she began working in a women’s health clinic in Burlington as a Medical Technician, and began to realize she wanted to be more directly involved in the care of the patient, and then spent two years in an apprenticeship to become a Physician’s Assistant. It was through this program that Cate had her first exposure to any sort of simulated activity. “During the apprenticeship course of study, we had a lot of one on one role playing with other students, learning assessment techniques and doing history interviews and such, and this was the early seeds for my understanding of what a Standardized Patient role was sort of like.”

During the first decade of her clinical career, she saw an ad in the paper from the University of Vermont’s Medical School for someone to help run the gynecological teaching associate program and she applied and got the job. “Within six months I was managing that program, and was then asked to help develop a more formalized approach to clinical skills assessment,” states Dr. Nicholas.We now know this as Objective Structured Clinical Exams (or OSCEs) with simulated Standardized Patients, but back then there wasn’t necessarily a name for it. “That was my first exposure to what I think is this fabulous community of practice (now known as simulation) that we all work in.” Like several other medical school programs across the United States at that time, the UV Medical School were compelled to implement new standards in their curricula that helped create a clinical skills program which was the forerunner to a fully integrated healthcare simulation facility that exists at the University now.

In the mid-2000s, Dr. Nicholas began attending the International Meeting for Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH), and started to realize that although the UV Medical School was very innovative with their Standardized Patient Program, they were not keeping up with where simulation-based education was going. “I felt like we were going to fall behind others when it came to other modalities of simulation that we were not doing. We were not going to be attractive to faculty, and we were going to have a hard time recruiting students and residents, if we did not adapt to what was coming.” And so with her leadership and the support of both the Medical School and the Colleges of Nursing and Health Sciences, Dr. Nicholas sought and received grant funding and state government support to create a facility that is now known as the Clinical Simulation Laboratory.

Since that time, Dr. Nicholas has gained state, regional, and national notoriety for her innovative education methods, practice and influence on both healthcare simulation as a whole, and in the realm of Standardized Patient methodology.She has worked extensively with the Association of Standardized Patient Educators including three years as the organization’s Vice President of Operations and is currently the Chair of the Grants and Research Committee. In 2011, she was named Outstanding Standardized Patient Educator of the Year by ASPE.

She has also been significantly involved in the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, including almost a decade as an accreditation site reviewer. She is currently on the Certification Council and is the Chair of the Quality Committee for the Council. Dr. Nicholas led her own program into SSH accreditation in 2014 in Research, Assessment, Systems Integration, and Teaching/Education. “I cannot speak more highly of the (SSH) accreditation process. Everyone has been so open-armed with their knowledge and time.”

“For these programs who have elected to go through the accreditation process, I just find it incredibly brave and generous. It’s brave to say here’s what we do and here’s how we do it. And it always amazes me to see the variety and creativity of all of these folks in these programs, and I just learn immensely from going on these site visits,” states Dr. Nicholas. She states that accreditation “allows a program to know what they are doing everyday can be validated and is of real quality.”

Outside of her incredibly busy career, Cate has a vast array of personal interests, including a passion for photography. “I am an avid, amateur photographer. I’ve taken a few classes, have had a couple of shows, and have actually sold a few pieces of my work.” When it was mentioned that selling her art actually makes her a professional, she just laughed, and said, “well I wouldn’t go that far!” Her family has a summer cottage and camp on Lake Champlain, and she spends much of her summer “communing with nature and just being.”

Cate has been married for 32 years and has three adult children, including a 26-year-old son, and twin 31-year old girls. In fact, one of her daughters is caring on the family legacy and is now a simulation educator in Portland, Oregon.Cate was eager and delighted to say that she is actually going to have the opportunity to present at IMSH with her daughter this year on the subject of Standardized Patient Education.

The SSH Accreditation Council and the Society in general would like to thank and congratulate Dr. Nicholas for her far-reaching influence and the for all the incredible and passionate work she has done in improving simulation-based healthcare education.

upcoming_banner[2]  New Fellowship Standards

SSH Accreditation will be adding a new optional area to the SSH Accreditation standards.  Coming soon, organizations will be able to become accredited in their Simulation Fellowship Programs.

Revised Confidentiality Agreements

In the upcoming months, SSH will be pushing out a revised version of the confidentiality agreements to all Council members, reviewers, and committee members.  This revision is part of an ongoing quality assurance process to better align the organization with best practice.  Once this document is disseminated, it will need to be reviewed and signed by all.  More information will be dispersed through your various committees and SSH.  If you have any questions, please contact Kristyn (

Accreditation Going Electronic

Over the past year, the SSH Accreditation has been working with the folks at WizeHive to integrate the paper application and review process into a fully personalized  Accreditation Management System (AMS) .  This platform will allow sites to apply for accreditation online and the reviewers will complete the reviews online through the platform.  In addition to saving some trees, the platform will enable the staff and reviewers to easily review the applications and make comments.  The reviewer team will even submit their review documents online.  For the staff, the AMS will help to automate actions, keep track of data, and enable more accurate reporting. The Wizehive AMS is being built and tested; there will be a few beta sites to fine-tune the software. More information will be forthcoming pertaining to training, rollout, and implementation. If you have any questions, please contact Kristyn  (

Picture1637002785469041351 Full Accreditation

Provisional Accreditation

Sim Center Directory

The Accreditation News is a product of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare by the members of the Accreditation Council.

If you would like to contribute to Accreditation News or have an idea, please contact

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