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Message from the Clinical Skills Center director

Sue Ahearn, director, Clinical Skills Center
UC Irvine School of Medicine
Sue Ahearn, BSN, RN, Director, Curricular Resources and Clinical Assessment

Welcome to the Clinical Skills Center, where medical students have the opportunity to learn through carefully constructed simulated clinical patient interactions.

Our team develops case simulations, trains standardized patients on those cases, runs workshops and exams, and helps students understand their performances.

Our standardized patients portray a wide variety of individuals — ranging from young women and elderly men to concerned family members — to provide our students with the most comprehensive learning experience possible.

The center lets students not only practice their medical knowledge but also to learn how to develop professional and compassionate relationships with a diverse population of patients. Our state-of-the-art facilities also provide students with leading-edge technology that enhances their ability to be effective 21st century physicians. 

"Our students are enormously motivated to make a difference," says center director Sue Ahearn, BSN, RN. "Each day with them is very stimulating, and they enjoy working with the standardized patients. The work is constantly challenging, but it is great fun."

Ahearn worked as a registered nurse at UC Irvine Medical Center for 12 years before joining the Clinical Skills Center in 1994, when it was launched as a pilot program.  She also has worked with the National Board of Medical Examiners to develop the center's innovative method of education and assessment.

UC Irvine is an active member of the California Consortium for the Assessment of Clinical Competence (CCACC), a multidisciplinary collaboration of physicians and other medical educators from all eight medical schools in the state of California.

View a video of Ahearn discussing her role and the clinical skills center ›