Monmouth Medical Center, Monmouth University open simulation learning center

The Linda Grunin Simulation Lab and Learning Center, a joint partnership between Monmouth University and Monmouth Medical Center that provides simulation-based health care education, was dedicated recently with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the West Long Branch facility.

Providing state-of-the-art training to MMC’s resident physicians and medical students, Monmouth University nursing, physician assistant, occupational therapy students as well as those from other disciplines, the Linda Grunin Center also is a valuable resource to the community for training first responders, including local EMTs and firefighters.

The 7,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art complex provides hands-on learning in a realistic simulation environment with high-tech mannequins and equipment. It includes four high-fidelity simulation suites with attached observation rooms for training with computerized manikins in simulated real-life settings, as well as six standardized patient exam rooms. The lab design and equipment incorporate the latest technology and best practices in simulation learning and are being used to provide simulation-based education to MMC clinicians in OB/GYN, pediatrics, medicine, surgery and intensive care.

Eric Carney, CEO of both Monmouth Medical Center and its Southern Campus, said mastery of skills prior to working with patients is crucial.

“This is an exciting next step in our long history as a teaching hospital, as simulation-based medical education improves medical care by boosting medical professionals’ performance, enhancing patient safety and providing interdisciplinary training,” he said. “We look forward to our continued collaboration with Monmouth University and remain incredibly thankful to the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation for their $3 million charitable gift that is helping to fund this innovative educational facility and program.”

Joseph Jaeger, chief academic officer at MMC, said simulation has long been a tenet of aeronautical and military training, yet is relatively new to medicine.

“At Monmouth Medical Center, we have been dedicated to training tomorrow’s physicians since the establishment of New Jersey’s first Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Program in 1945, and this facility allows us to continue to educate our physicians in training in the most state-of-the-art environment,” he said. “We are proud to be the first in the region to offer hands-on learning in a simulation environment using high-tech mannequins and scenarios.”

Ann Marie Mauro, dean and professor at Monmouth University’s Marjorie K. Unterberg School of Nursing and Health Studies, said effective, team-based care is essential to address the complex health needs of an increasingly diverse and aging population.

“This groundbreaking academic-practice partnership provides the unique opportunity to cultivate interprofessional teams with entry level to advanced practice members to implement high quality, safe, evidence-based care,” she said. “Our vision is to establish our Monmouth University/Monmouth Medical Center partnership model as the gold standard for transdisciplinary education and collaborative practice.”

In 2019, the university and hospital officially partnered in the development of the new facility at Monmouth Corporate Park in West Long Branch. Construction began in December 2019 and was completed in October.

Monmouth University President Patrick Leahy said he is thrilled by the partnership.

“The Linda Grunin Simulation Lab and Learning Center is a terrific example of the service culture that is at the center of Monmouth University’s mission,” he said. “We feel a strong obligation to partner with our host communities, and we believe this facility will provide exponentially greater long-term benefits to health care in our region. To be truly great, we believe universities must be anchors of community enrichment, and we are proud of our partnership with Monmouth Medical Center. Thanks to the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation, our futures are inextricably linked.”

Jay Grunin, co-founder and chairman of the Grunin Foundation and husband of the late Linda Grunin, said the facility will not only positively impact health care providers and first responders, but will also increase the health of the community and economy at the central Jersey Shore by advancing medical technology and emergency response.

“We are thrilled to support the collaboration between Monmouth Medical Center and Monmouth University to bring the Linda Grunin Sim Lab to life in Monmouth County,” he said. “It’s truly the future of medical training and health care innovation — Linda would be so proud.”