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With a focus on learning, we employ a range of strategies to support innovation, collaboration across centers, and university-wide discussion and decision-making


Twelfth Annual Grant Winners 2011-2012

Title: Simulated Patient Assessment Research, and Collaboration (SPARC)

Karen Grosby, MEd (CPS)

Faculty and Students:
Sarah Valley-Gray, PsyD (CPS)
Heidi A. Lane, EdD (HPD-OST)
Ralph Eugene (Gene) Cash, PhD (CPS)
Barry Nierenberg, PhD (ABPP)
Stephanie T. Camejo, MS (CPS)
Megan Cannon, MS (CPS)
Bianca Basil, MS (CPS)
Courtney Cantrell, BS (CPS)
Cristina Calderon, BA (CPS)
Hilary Cagle, MS (CPS)


Simulated Patient Assessment Research, and Collaboration (SPARC)In recent years, accrediting units of the American Psychological Association (APA), the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and other credentialing bodies have increasingly demanded that faculty provide evidence that their students demonstrate competency in the skills they teach. A variety of techniques have been identified to assess student learning outcomes, including live or recorded performance ratings, objective structured clinical examinations, portfolios, record reviews, self-assessment, and simulations/role plays (Kaslow et al., 2009). Medical schools have utilized standardized patients (SPs) since 1963, and at least 80% of medical schools in the United States presently use them for training and evaluation purposes (Clay, Lane, Willis, Peal, Chakravarthi, & Poehlman, 2000). A standardized patient (SP) is an individual trained to portray a set of symptoms consistently across clinical interactions (Barrows, 1993). According to Barrows, using an SP allows faculty to assess their student's clinical skills in a safe environment and eliminates the possibility of harming an actual client. There is a paucity of research regarding the use of SPs in professional psychology. Graduate education in psychology has traditionally utilized roleplay as the primary technique of preparing its trainees for clinical practice. Owing to large student cohorts and the convenience of having a medical school and graduate psychology programs housed on the same campus, the Center for Psychological Studies is in a unique position to evaluate the efficacy of implementing the use of SPs in a clinical training program among psychology trainees. The purpose of the proposed study is to investigate whether role-playing with a standardized patient (SP) results in enhanced skill development when compared with role-playing with peers. The proposed collaborative study between the Center for Psychological Studies and Health Professions Divisions is novel, and has the potential to contribute to the best practices literature in clinical competency assessment among future psychologists.