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Geisinger’s Education and Medical Simulation (GEMS) Center on Sept. 30 received accreditation from the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH).

The accreditation is an important recognition of both the excellence of the GEMS Center and the growing consensus that simulation plays an essential role in patient safety.

“SSH has pushed for improving types of simulation technology, creating best practices in simulation and supporting rigorous educational assessment,” said Nicole Woll, PhD, MEd, associate chief academic officer, interprofessional education associate dean, faculty and continuing professional development. Samantha Lee, MHS, program manager, agrees. “In fact, one big reason to pursue SSH accreditation is the shift in thinking that’s occurred over the past decade,” Lee said. “There’s a recognition that simulation is a really valuable part of healthcare education. It’s all about patient safety and patient care and how we use simulation to get there.”

The SSH seal affirms that the GEMS Center meets all core standards for excellence in teaching and education. In addition, however, the accreditors specifically praised Dr. Woll and her team  for creating “rich and high-fidelity/realistic communication simulations” and for cultivating “leadership who understand the power of simulation and integration into the healthcare system.” That affirmation is important to Dr. Woll because she is specially interested in applying “the power of simulation” to improve patient care and safety. “Simulation creates better healthcare overall because you are standardizing techniques. A good example is central line care,” she said. “Central lines are used across departments and across platforms. We can use simulation to standardize the methodology for insertion, removal and maintenance.”

In addition to recognition of the simulation center’s excellence, SSH accreditation also benefits Geisinger by giving the GEMS team a ready source for consultation and best practices, as well as enhancing Geisinger’s academic reputation among residents, fellows and medical students.

“I congratulate Dr. Woll and team for garnering this important recognition. We know that all learners, especially residents, fellows and medical students, look for prestigious accreditations as a means of assessing a program’s excellence,” said Steven J. Scheinman, MD, executive vice president, Geisinger and president and dean of Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. “SSH accreditation confirms that high-quality simulations are an essential component of education at Geisinger.”

Dr. Woll said the five-year accreditation is not the end of our plans to grow and enrich the GEMS programs. “Accreditation is the crowning piece of our efforts, that’s true,” she said. “It really is the culmination of a lot of hard work. But we still have a lot of goals we want to achieve at the same time.”

Congratulations to the GEMS team:

  • Nicole Woll, PhD, Associate Chief Academic Officer
  • April Morgan, MEd, Manager - Interprofessional Education
  • Sandy Green, MD, Medical Director - Clinical Skills Program
  • Mary Harris, MD, Medical Director - Healthcare Communication Program
  • Samantha Lee, MHS, Program Manager
  • John Cromis, Simulation Technician
  • Pam Domenico, EMT, Senior Program Coordinator
  • Samantha Norton, MFA, Education Specialist
  • Mary Jean Parry, Administrative Assistant


About Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) is a member of the Geisinger family. GCSOM offers a community-based model of medical education with campuses in Danville, Lewistown, Scranton, Sayre and Wilkes-Barre. Geisinger Commonwealth offers Doctor of Medicine (MD) and a portfolio of graduate degrees. The school’s innovative curriculum, focused on caring for people in the context of their lives and their community, attracts the next generation of physicians and scientists from within its region, as well as from across the state and the nation. Geisinger Commonwealth is committed to non-discrimination in all employment and educational opportunities. Visit

About Geisinger
Geisinger is among the nation’s leading providers of value-based care, serving 1.2 million people in urban and rural communities across Pennsylvania. Founded in 1915 by philanthropist Abigail Geisinger, the non-profit system generates $10 billion in annual revenues across 134 care sites - including 10 hospital campuses, and Geisinger Health Plan, with 600,000 members in commercial and government plans. The Geisinger College of Health Sciences educates more than 5,000 medical professionals annually and conducts more than 1,400 clinical research studies. With 26,000 employees, including 1,600 employed physicians, Geisinger is among Pennsylvania’s largest employers with an estimated economic impact of $14 billion to the state’s economy. On March 31, 2024, Geisinger became the first member of Risant Health, a new nonprofit charitable organization created to expand and accelerate value-based care across the country.  Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.

Geisinger’s Education and Medical Simulation Center (GEMS) team
Geisinger’s Education and Medical Simulation (GEMS) Center team (left to right): Samantha Norton, MFA, education specialist; John Cromis, simulation technician; April Morgan, MEd, manager - Interprofessional Education; Samantha Lee, MHS, program manager; Pam Domenico, EMT, senior program coordinator; Mary Jean Parry, administrative assistant; Nicole Woll, PhD, associate chief academic officer; Mary Harris, MD, medical director - Healthcare Communication Program
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Elizabeth Zygmunt
Director, Media and Public Relations 
Office: 570-504-9687
On Call: 570-687-9703
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