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The Methodist Hospital opens MITIE, a 35,000 square foot virtual surgical training center

HOUSTON (Jan. 27, 2011) – Today The Methodist Hospital in Houston opened the Methodist Institute for Technology, Innovation and Education (MITIE™), a 35,000 square-foot interactive, simulation-based surgical training center created to help practicing physicians acquire new high-tech skills including image-guided therapies, surgical robotics and new techniques.
“MITIE has already drawn thousands of surgeons, physicians and their teams to Houston to train in this truly unique environment,” said Dr. Barbara Bass, executive director of MITIE and chair of the department of surgery at Methodist. “There is a great need for this type of training.”

MITIE incorporates a virtual hospital for recreating high-risk patient care environments, a procedural skills lab for hands-on training with state-of-the-art models, and a suite of 15 operating rooms for image-guided procedure research, robotic surgery and technology development. “Until now there has been nothing in place to provide our nation’s surgeons with consistent, measureable skills training on these technologies,” Bass said. “Methodist has created what is now the model surgical skills laboratory in the nation. Surgeons and their teams can come here to train in a virtual environment and stay ahead of constantly-changing techniques – before practicing on patients.”

In MITIE, practicing surgeons and their teams can perform surgical procedures in a simulated operating room, see and experience ways that imaging is being combined with surgery to offer less invasive procedures, get hands-on experience
using surgical robots, see how human patient simulators are used to help medical teams rehearse complex procedures, and perform cardiac and vascular procedures on a computer simulator. As part of an investigational study, trainers can measure stress with a thermal camera to determine a trainee’s surgical expertise. From MITIE’s MedPresence room, surgical teams-in-training can observe surgeries being performed in multiple ORs across the Methodist campus. From their seat, they can access educational materials about surgeries being performed, ask questions and manipulate cameras to get customized views of the procedures.

“Individuals learn at their own pace and with their own unique ways of processing information,” said Dr. Brian Dunkin, surgeon and medical director of MITIE. “MITIE is designed to provide a comprehensive level of instruction and education for surgeons, physicians and their teams.” MITIE also serves as a research center for procedural innovation and technology development. Multidisciplinary teams of computational scientists, bioengineers, computer scientists and surgeons work collaboratively in the fields of robotics, image guidance, biosensors, human performance and virtual surgery, among others.

For more information about MITIE, see For more information about The Methodist Hospital, see For more information on The Methodist Hospital Research Institute, see Follow Methodist on Twitter at and Facebook at

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