ACOM Medical Students Win International Simulation Competition

Team defeats France in final round to win title

ACOM_International_Win_Team_PhotoDOTHAN, Ala. – June 20, 2017 – A team of second-year students from the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) won the International SimChallenge in Paris, France at the Society in Europe for the Simulation Applied to Medicine (SESAM) annual meeting held June 14-16, 2017.

SimChallenge is a competition in which student teams are presented with emergent clinical scenarios that require medical knowledge, clinical skills, teamwork and communication to save the simulated patient. The ACOM team previously won the National SimChallenge during the 2017 American Medical Student Association (AMSA) annual convention held in Washington, DC, in February, earning them the opportunity to represent the United States at the SESAM conference. Students from six countries competed in the international event representing China, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the US.

The competition comprised two rounds, with two teams advancing to the second and final round. During the first round, China, Poland and Portugal competed against each other, followed by France, the Netherlands and the US. The two groups of countries competed with different cases and the two top scoring teams moved into the finals. ACOM students competed on Thursday, June 15 in the preliminary round to earn their spot in the finals against the team from France on Friday, June 16.

In the final round, the ACOM team was presented a challenging and complex case, in which a male patient presented with gunshot wounds to the face and right chest, as well as severe facial trauma. The students explained that this simulation was even more intense because it was a live patient wearing a cut suit that allowed the students to perform actual procedures. During the scenario, the team had to perform a surgical airway because the facial trauma prevented the patient from being intubated. The team also had to put in a chest tube, while stabilizing the patient, transfusing blood and organizing the right specialists to come and attend the patient.

“It was a humbling experience to be able to represent our country in a competition among some of the best medical students in the world. However, against the backdrop of Paris, France, it became quickly apparent that students from Dothan, Alabama, are remarkably educated to compete and succeed on an international stage,” team member John Murphy said. “It was an honor to be a part of a team that prioritized collaboration, graciousness, and respect as a part of team expectations.”

ACOM_International_Win_Awards_CeremonyACOM’s Instructor of Family Medicine and Primary Clinical Skills, Melinda Ledbetter, PA-C, accompanied the students to France and served as a judge in preliminary rounds. Having seen the other teams compete, she was amazed by the reception of the crowd to the ACOM students.

“When our team was called into their [final] scenario, everyone got quiet and became very focused on the ACOM team,” Ledbetter said, noting that spectators were captivated by the ACOM’s team performance. “Our students demonstrated such courtesy and respect to the other teams and event organizers. I was very impressed with their maturity and professionalism. They made ACOM proud!”

John Giannini, MD, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of Simulation at ACOM trained this group of students in weekly sessions leading up to the AMSA National SimChallenge. Since winning the national competition, this ACOM team has continued training to strengthen their skills, communication and teamwork. This intense preparation helped ensure that the ACOM team was ready to face a wide variety of scenarios among other medical students from around the world.

“I think all of us are very proud to not only represent ACOM, but to represent Osteopathic medical students on an international scale,” said Daniel Fuchs, team captain. “It’s truly been a privilege for us to be able to have the experience we have had with simulation here at ACOM.”

About the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM)

ACOM is a four-year, comprehensive osteopathic medical school located in Dothan, Alabama. As the academic division of the Houston County Health Care Authority, the private, non-profit college was founded in 2010 to help address the primary care physician shortage in Alabama. ACOM is the third medical school in Alabama and the first osteopathic medical in the state. For more information about the college, visit or stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.