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Director, Curricular Resources and Clinical Assessment

Sue Ahearn is the director of the Clinical Skills Center at UC Irvine School of Medicine. The center’s activities revolve around its standardized patient program, which affords students the opportunity to learn through carefully constructed simulated clinical patient interactions.

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UC Irvine's iMedEd Initiative
Clinical Skills Sim-Center

Clinical Skills Center

The Clinical Skills Center (CSC) at UC Irvine provides students a supportive approach to clinical assessment and reasoning that ultimately improves patient care. The CSC’s core activities revolve around the Standardized Patient Program, which allows students to develop skills in physical exams, communication, taking patient histories, and other aspects of clinical practice. The Standardized Patient Program allows students to work with individuals trained to portray the roles of patients, family members, or others, and is integrated across the four years of medical education. Students in UC Irvine’s graduate nursing and resident programs also participate in the CSC’s Standardized Patient sessions.

In addition to the Standardized Patient Program, CSC works closely with the Ultrasound Initiative, which offers hands-on learning experiences in bedside ultrasound. The CSC helps assess students’ progress toward the Ultrasound Initiative’s objectives.

Located in the Medical Education Building, the CSC’s facility fosters these core programs. The CSC has 17 patient rooms, including three high-fidelity rooms suitable for simulation scenarios. The CSC records all student encounters, both summative and formative. This allows the CSC to offer performance review to both faculty and students. Faculty can remotely access the CSC’s system to review student performance, and students can review their work with faculty or staff. 

The CSC’s programs also incorporate the School of Medicine’s iMedEd Initiative, which offers students Apple iPads to facilitate technologically advanced medical education and practice. The CSC asks students to use iPads to video-chat with Standardized Patients and to teach Standardized Patients using DrawMD—an iPad program—during exam scenarios.


To enhance the medical education of students and residents through experiential learning utilizing standardized patient training, simulation and telemedicine to help produce competent, communicative, caring clinicians of strong ethical character.