Post SIMPACT 2024 Conference Report of Success

The Aga Khan University Centre for Innovation in Medical Education (CIME) launched its first-ever international conference, SIMPACT 2024, in Karachi, Pakistan, and Nairobi, Kenya from May 20-21st. SIMPACT 2024 gathers together a diverse array of clinical simulation professionals, which includes doctors, nurses, educators, researchers, engineers, students, experts, and industry leaders, to revolutionize healthcare education for a safer and more skilled future through clinical simulation. This article will explore the SIMPACT conference experience and report back to encourage others to consider attendance at the next conference.

SIMPACT 2024 Offered In Person and Virtual Options at Two Sites

The SIMPACT 2024 conference was held from May 20 to 21, and served as a dynamic platform to foster collaboration, innovation, and education in healthcare simulation. A hybrid format was used in which there was a blend between in-person events at CIME in Karachi and Nairobi had virtual participation options. SIMPACT 2024 moved towards global accessibility and inclusivity as a conference, and drew attendees from around the world.

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Dr Michael Moneypenny, Regional Director of CIME East Africa, expressed his excitement in the statement: “As we embarked on this pioneering journey with SIMPACT 2024, we were thrilled to bring together the brightest minds in healthcare and simulation-based education. This inaugural conference has marked a significant milestone for our region, and we were excited to explore new horizons and drive innovation that will transform the future of healthcare training and practice.”

Dr Sulaiman Shahabuddin, President and Vice-Chancellor of the Aga Khan University, officially opened SIMPACT 2024, with praise for the efforts of the CIME teams to organize this groundbreaking event. “SIMPACT embodies the essence of simulation-based education, offering benefits such as enhanced patient safety, skill acquisition, team training, personalized learning, and fostering research and innovation. In the words of His Highness, The Aga Khan, ‘We must look to the future, seeking always to think creatively, to innovate, and to improve.’

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These sentiments resonated deeply with CIME’s vision since the inception. With 14 workshops, 93 abstract submissions, and keynote addresses from leaders and important figures, SIMPACT has drawn over 600+ attendees from Karachi and Nairobi, which reinforces the importance of simulation-based practice and plans for a clear path forward.” SIMPACT 2024 was a successful conference in the hybrid format which combined both in person and virtual and was able to reach more participants with this inclusive format.

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Day One of SIMPACT 2024 Highlights

Day one of SIMPACT 2024 highlights included the Joint Directors’ Session titled ‘Simulation 360’ which transcended geographical boundaries with simultaneous sessions from Karachi and Nairobi. In order to build on the success of the 2023 Healthcare Simulation Week, SIMPACT introduced a highlight titled “Escape from Mars in 2087”. Designed by seasoned educators and technical specialists, this challenging environment puts healthcare professionals’ skills to the test, encourages critical thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving abilities.

The SIMPACT 2024 conference also commenced with pre-conference hands-on workshops which covered specialties such as Interprofessional Simulation, Laparoscopic Skills, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Cardiology Management of Dermatological Disorders in Primary Care, facilitated by renowned experts. There were also discussions around research and publication essentials included.

Dr Faisal Ismail, Regional Director of CIME South Asia, remarked, “SIMPACT 2024 is not just a conference; this is a celebration of our collective commitment to excellence in simulation. For the first time in our region, the first simulation network of the region has been created – the Network for Simulation in Pakistan (NSP) – where educators, practitioners, and innovators can collaborate and inspire each other. Together, boundaries will be pushed of what’s possible in healthcare and simulation-based education.”

Day Two of SIMPACT 2024 Highlights

Day two of SIMPACT 2024 began with a welcome address by the Regional Director Dr. Michael Moneypenny followed by a video message from Dr Carl Amrhein, Provost & Vice President, Academic, Aga Khan University, which encouraged the participants to learn, collaborate and enjoy themselves. This was followed by a thought-provoking open address by Associate Vice-Provost Gitonga M’Mbijjewe, who discussed the future of healthcare education through clinical simulation and the use of new technologies, such as AI. He also made the participants consider what skills the future healthcare workforce will need to prioritize, such as creativity and innovation.

This was followed by an immersive panel discussion on “Building Blocks for Successful Simulation Programs in Healthcare in LMICs” featured expert insights from Dr. Faisal Ismail, Dr. Michael Moneypenny, Dr. Yasmin Amasri, Dr. Naveed ur Rehman, Prof. Abrar Ashraf Ali, Ms. Rose Ahono Sikote, Dr. Adeel Khatri, Ms. Vongai Mlambo, Mr. Titus Guchu, and Dr. Karima Khalid. They shared best practices and strategies to overcome challenges in these regions and to highlight the importance of culturally tailored education, sustainable solutions, integration into curricula, government support, technology, community engagement, and innovative approaches to education.

Participants explored the future of medical education with Dr. James M. Cooke celebrated scholarly excellence at the Abstract Showcase, and enjoyed the grand award ceremony which recognized the winners for abstract submission and escape room. Day two concluded with a compelling speech by Dr. Anjum Halai, Vice-Provost for South Asia and the UK at Aga Khan University, in the closing ceremony. She emphasized the importance of continuous conversations around advancements in healthcare simulation-based education in healthcare.

This keynote address was followed by the announcement of the Eastern Africa Simulation Network by Dr. Michael Moneypenny and the Network for Simulation in Pakistan (NSP) by Dr. Faisal Ismail. These initiatives mark a significant step towards the creation of a community of like-minded individuals within the healthcare simulation field. Students, healthcare professionals, educators, and engineers found inspiration and opportunities for collaboration, in advancement of healthcare standards globally.

SIMPACT 2024 is more than just a conference; SIMPACT is a catalyst for transformation across the globe in healthcare simulation. This article has explored the experience to attend the hugely successful conference that was SIMPACT 2024. Attendees are poised to make meaningful contributions to patient care and safety, shaping a future where innovation, collaboration and education converge for a safer and more skilled healthcare landscape. The future is bright for the next delivery of the SIMPACT conference in the future.

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