Researchers prep VIRGIL* for medical conference.
 CELTS undergoes validation at MGH   Dr. Dawson reviews medical accuracy on simulator.
The Simulation Group


Steve Dawson, MDSteven Dawson, MD
Phone: 617.768.8781

Massachusetts General Hospital

Current Professional Experience:
Associate Professor of Radiology at Harvard

Core Program Position:
Program Leader, Simulation

Steve Dawson, MD, program leader for The Simulation Group, is an interventional radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. Steve graduated from Tufts Medical School, and then did his radiology residency and a two year post-doctoral fellowship in Interventional Radiology at Mass General. He holds faculty appointments as Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and Visiting Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In 1994, he saw a primitive simulator and a light bulb lit up: he recognized that advances in computing, haptics, and graphics could be applied to medical education to change medicine’s tradition of learning on humans. Since then, Steve has made the development of effective, proven medical simulators his major research focus, though he still has the most fun during his regularly scheduled clinical rotations in the hospital, treating patients and teaching the next generation of interventional radiologists.

“Right now, we still use the same teaching model that Egyptians used 4,000 years ago”, he says. “If I’m a doctor in a teaching hospital and a sick person comes in, I learn on that person. If I need to learn how to treat a particular disease and no one with that disease shows up, I‘m out of luck. And whoever I’m working on is someone’s mother, father, son or daughter. This system worked fine for all those years when there was no other way to teach young doctors, but we are at a crucial time in medical education, where revolutions in computing, mathematics, engineering and education surround us. Our challenge in medicine is to grab the best of these revolutions and create a new way of medical learning. But we need to do it carefully and we need to know that when we make a better way, it will work as well as, or better than, the old ways, because we can’t go backwards.”

Steve believes that physicians must be central to the creation of educational systems. “Docs know best what docs need to know. We know what will convince us that it’s time to change our ways. Without physician involvement from first ideas through final validation, simulation designers may spend months or years in wasted effort. And before effective simulators are ready, rigorous scientific research has to be done, so that we don’t just create elaborate video games and pass them off as medical training systems.” Steve assembled this talented team to address these difficult scientific hurdles in engineering, mathematics, computer science, education, and system design.

The Simulation Group welcomes these challenges. Solving the scientific problems of medical education through simulation is our Big Hairy Audacious Goal. It keeps us interested and it makes life fun.

Back to the list of Researchers

Copyright © CIMIT 2002. All rights reserved