Standardized Patient Program


The Standardized Patient Program provides teaching and assessment learning opportunities for undergraduate, graduate, and continuing medical education. The SP Program manages all aspects of providing professionally trained patients, which includes recruiting, training and scheduling. There are established, continuous quality improvement initiatives embedded within the program for observation and evaluation of the professional patients to ensure quality, consistency, and reliability in completing checklists, providing feedback, and performing roles. SPs are valuable tools that are bridging the gap between lectures and practical application. The SP Program can assist you in choosing the most appropriate use for your course. The SP Program is one of the largest programs within the State of Texas and is viewed as a leader in SP methodology.

History of SPs

The first simulated patient was born in 1963 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The father of this birth was Dr. Howard S. Barrows, a neurologist and medical educator at the university. Dr. Barrows’ first simulated patient was Rose McWilliams. She was used to teach the normal neurological examination. After teaching the exam, Dr. Barrows pondered how he would evaluate the students. He needed a case that every single student would see in exactly the same way. His first case was Patty Dugger, a paraplegic woman with multiple sclerosis. This was the birth of a standardized patient. Over the years, Dr. Barrows continued to develop and expand the use of simulated patients in medical education. Today, SP methodology has been adopted globally.

Current Sessions

Being centrally located within the Office of Educational Programs located in the Dean’s office, the SP Program is accessible to all courses and departments.  The staff is continually planning new projects and grant opportunities.  Below is a list of current projects and programs using SPs.

  • Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP)
  • Joint Admissions Medical Program (JAMP)
  • Pre Entry Course
  • 1st Year Introduction to Clinical Medicine Course (ICM)
  • 1st Year Medical Microbiology Course
  • 2nd Year Physical Diagnosis Course
  • 2nd Year Male Prostate Practice Session
  • 2nd OB/GYN Breast & Pelvic Practice Session
  • 3rd Year Internal Medicine Clerkship Small Group Session
  • 3rd Year Pediatric Clerkship Small Group Session
  • 3rd Year Internal Medicine Clerkship Session
  • 3rd Year Comprehensive Clinical Competency Exam (CCCE)
  • Anesthesiology Department
  • Emergency Medical Residency Program
  • Family Practice Residency Program
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Internal Medicine Residency Program
  • Pediatrics Residency Program
  • Surgery Residency Program

Surgical and Clinical Skills Center

The Standardized Patient Program is located in the new Surgical and Clinical Skills Center (SCSC) in the basement of the Medical School, MSB B.120. The SCSC is also home to the Surgical Simulation Center, a state of the art simulation suite. The combination of both areas under one educational facility provides the most sophisticated learning environment for the healthcare community. For more information, visit the Surgical and Clinical Skills Center website.

Information for Prospective SPs

All applicants interested in the Standardized Patient position must complete an application online at the UTHealth Job Site.  Once at this site you need to Click on the “search current openings” link from the menu bar located on the left hand side of the screen.  Then, enter job “requisition number” 100224 OR search for Standardized Patient at Medical School Building for the SP position at the Medical School.  

Contact Us

Standardized Patient Program
Telephone: (713) 500-5900
Fax: (713) 500-5922

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