Pictured from left: President Hank Foley, Board of Trustees Vice Chair Dan Ferrara, Danielle Ferrara, NYITCOM Dean Nicole Wadsworth, and Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Balentine cut the ribbon to officially open the Ferrara Center for Patient Safety and Clinical Simulation.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 12, members of the College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) and New York Tech community, including trustees, university leaders, faculty, staff, and medical students, gathered at the W. Kenneth Riland Academic Health Care Center on the Long Island campus to celebrate the grand opening of the Ferrara Center for Patient Safety and Clinical Simulation.
The event officially recognized the renaming, restructuring, and expansion of the former Institute for Clinical Competence (ICC), which would not have been possible without the generous support of NYITCOM alumnus and New York Tech Board of Trustees Vice Chair Daniel Ferrara (D.O. ’86) and his wife, Danielle.
The new Ferrara Center for Patient Safety and Clinical Simulation, which is twice as large as the former ICC, features updated virtual patient examination rooms and simulation labs, where students from NYITCOM and the School of Health Professions practice inter-professional healthcare and clinical skills. The Ferraras generously supported the center upgrade with a $1 million gift that allowed NYITCOM to increase the number of exam and simulation rooms and add additional workshop and simulation spaces, including space to allow for a simulated emergency room setting. NYITCOM alumnus Ted Triana (D.O. ’89) also contributed to the expansion with a generous gift to name a patient exam room.
In the reimagined space, future physicians and healthcare professionals “encounter” more lifelike patient scenarios than ever before. Clinicians-in-training interact with high-fidelity mannequins and standardized patients (SPs), individuals who are specially trained to re-enact medical conditions. These “patient” interactions prepare future providers for real-life exams and ailment scenarios, allowing them to fine-tune their medical interviewing and physical examination skills.
Timothy Devine, lead simulation specialist at NYITCOM, provides a demonstration with some of the center’s high-fidelity mannequins.
Under the vision of Center Director Mindy Roher and the expertise and support of NYITCOM’s Academic Technologies Group, the center also received a technological upgrade. In addition to other enhancements, the center now has a state-of-the-art control room, allowing instructors to better assess interactions and provide real-time feedback on clinical performance. Other features include diagnostic equipment, osteopathic manipulation tables, and digital video cameras.
Before cutting the ribbon, speakers, including President Hank Foley, Ph.D., Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Balentine, D.O., and NYITCOM Dean Nicole Wadsworth, D.O., thanked Ferrara for his philanthropic commitment.
“My thanks are very little compared to the thousands of medical students and hundreds of thousands of patients who will benefit from this,” said Balentine.
At the podium, Balentine and Ferrara recalled their experiences as physicians-in-training at a time when simulation centers were not widely used in medical schools. They marveled at how far medical education has come, with today’s medical students and their future patients reaping tremendous benefits from these resources, which improve patient safety by allowing students to hone clinical skills and learn within a controlled environment.
“I’m here to thank the medical school because, without [NYITCOM], I would not be standing here today…I owe everything to this institution for taking a chance on me and I’m here to pay it forward,” said Ferrara.
Following the ribbon cutting, attendees moved into the center’s simulated emergency room for a champagne toast, where Director of Academic Technology Dost Khalique unveiled a futuristic surprise simulation—a hologram display illuminating New York Tech leaders, center staff, and Danielle Ferrara in lifelike form. In each display, individuals shared their appreciation for the center and its greater impact on the lives of future patients. Guests also had an opportunity to tour the new facility’s other spaces, stepping into areas designed to realistically resemble a modern doctor’s office, or transform into a realistic operating room or recovery room, with the center’s staff providing demonstrations of high-fidelity mannequins and other equipment.
Ferrara has long been involved in giving back to his medical school. In addition to the newly enhanced simulation center, he has enabled multiple other NYITCOM projects, including the creation of the Healing Path and the annual stethoscope distribution event, during which first-year medical students receive their first stethoscopes. Ferrara has also been a major donor of New York Tech’s annual Big Give, providing a $25,000 match that has inspired others to give, in addition to multiple other philanthropic efforts.