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Enhancing Medical Education and Community Health: VCOM-Carolinas Receives Grant for LAP Mentor Simulator

Student using the LAP Mentor Simulator
By Lily Collins -

The Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM)-Carolinas is proud to announce a significant stride forward in medical education and community health, thanks to a generous grant from the South Carolina Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare. The grant, totaling over $400,000, marks a pivotal moment for our institution, allowing us to expand our outreach and provide innovative training opportunities for future physicians.

One of the most exciting aspects of this grant is the acquisition of the LAP Mentor Simulator, a state-of-the-art training platform designed to enhance the skills of medical students in laparoscopic surgery. But what exactly is a LAP Mentor, and how will it revolutionize medical education at VCOM-Carolinas?

The LAP Mentor Simulator is a sophisticated virtual reality system that replicates the experience of performing laparoscopic surgery, a minimally invasive surgical technique used in various medical procedures. Through realistic simulations, students can practice essential skills such as hand-eye coordination, instrument manipulation and surgical technique in a safe and controlled environment, preparing them to deliver high-quality patient care with precision and expertise.

Portrait of Michael Parks

The LAP Mentor is an invaluable tool for students pursuing a career in surgery. As they enter their third year, our students will be actively handling the LAP camera, and the virtual training they receive through LAP Mentor will give them a competitive edge in securing opportunities for laparoscopic surgery experiences.

Michael Parks, MPA, NREMT , VCOM-Carolinas Director for High Fidelity Manikin Based and Virtual Simulation

The impact of integrating the LAP Mentor Simulator into medical curriculum extends beyond the classroom. As future physicians, VCOM students play a vital role in addressing health inequities and improving access to healthcare, particularly in rural and underserved communities. By equipping them with advanced surgical skills through simulation-based training, they are empowered to serve as agents of positive change in the communities they will one day serve.

The addition of the LAP Mentor aligns with the College’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in medical education. As part of the grant goals, VCOM aims to ensure racial diversity among the simulated patients, providing students with a realistic training environment that reflects the diversity of the world they will encounter in their medical careers.

“The LAP Mentor covers it all,” says Parks, “From your essential skills, like instrument handling and camera navigation, to more complex procedures, such as suturing, knot tying, cholecystectomy, appendectomy, hysterectomy and other procedures. Our students can gradually progress and build upon their skills, ensuring a well-rounded and comprehensive understanding of laparoscopic surgery.”

The acquisition of the LAP Mentor Simulator represents a significant advancement in medical education at VCOM-Carolinas. By investing in innovative training technologies and expanding our community outreach efforts, we are not only preparing our students for success but also strengthening our impact on community health in South Carolina and beyond.

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