New simulation lab honors medical pioneer

Facility’s goal said partly to attract future healers

by Kim Crompton, Spokane Journal of Business

A new clinical simulation lab that has opened on the Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital campus will enable medical staff and students to experience lifelike medical situations through the use of robotic mannequins.

The lab, dedicated May 20, is located in a 7,200-square-foot space on the seventh floor of the Sacred Heart Doctors Building, just southwest of the main hospital building. It has been named the Dr. James W. Mounsey Clinical Simulation Lab, honoring a Sacred Heart medical pioneer.

In 1919, Mounsey completed the first medical internship at Sacred Heart and went on to become an accomplished surgeon and recognized authority in the field of proctology in the western U.S. and Canada, biographical information indicates. From 1944 to 1945, he served as president of Sacred Heart Medical Staff. A lifelong Catholic, Mounsey was known in the community for providing medical services free of charge to the poor and religious.

Mounsey’s grandson and granddaughter-in-law, Pete and Anne Mounsey, of Denver, are funding the lab with a $140,000 gift to the Providence Health Care Foundation-Eastern Washington.

In addition to providing funds for setting up the lab, the gift is intended to help the lab extend its reach beyond Sacred Heart to become an educational community asset, Mounsey says.

“I thought it would be neat to do something sort of historical for my grandfather that honors his legacy,” he says, adding, “It’s amazing. The space is just incredible.”

Mounsey describes the lab as “a great learning tool” that hopefully will be used extensively not only for training purposes by people already employed in health, but that also will interest young people who visit it, particularly the disadvantaged, to consider a career in medicine.

He says the lab is similar in concept to a facility he and his wife funded at the University of Colorado Medical Center, partly to serve inner-city youth. Providence Health Care, the big health care provider network here that includes Sacred Heart, Providence Holy Family Hospital, and smaller critical-access hospitals in Colville and Chewelah, as well as other facilities and services here, owns and operates the lab. Providence will invite students to tour the facility, where they will be introduced to real-life medical care scenarios.

The lab here includes robotic mannequins of various types and is divided into curtained bays for different types of medical care simulations. It includes a reception area, nursing station, two single-patient rooms, and a simulated emergency room and intensive care unit. It also includes a fully equipped operating room and a classroom with video technology.

The high-tech dummies can be programmed to simulate dozens of medical scenarios, from a complicated birth to heart attacks and seizures. Using bar codes to simulate the administering of particular medications, they also can show how the fake patients respond to those drugs.

Providence has hired a simulation lab coordinator, Wade Scoles, who will begin working there July 1 and will head the educational outreach effort, says Joyce M. Cameron, chief development officer of the Providence Health Care Foundation-Eastern Washington.

Cameron says she has been working with the Mounseys on the plans for the lab for about two years.

“We want to really foster health care as an interest area for the young people in the community. That was a critical part of them giving this gift,” she says.

In 2015, the foundation awarded 463 grants totaling more than $5.8 million to Providence ministries in Spokane and Stevens counties, and Cameron says it expects to award $6 million in grants this year.