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Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Council Member Shekar Krishnan, and Assembly Member Jessica Gonzalez Rojas help deliver a baby during an obstetric simulation (Credit: NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst).

NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst Opens New Mother-Baby Simulation Center to Improve Maternal Health Outcomes for Women of Color

Elmhurst has a new space solely dedicated to obstetric simulations with a new mannequin that is a woman of color

Jul 22, 2022

Elmhurst, NY

NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst today announced the opening of its Mother-Baby Simulation Center to help reduce maternal deaths and life-threatening conditions in patients during childbirth. Using a specially-designed, high-tech, full-body mannequin of color, along with a mannequin infant, obstetric (OB) physicians, anesthesiologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, midwives, physician assistants, and respiratory therapists participate in simulations that further help in identifying and treating potentially life-threatening conditions during labor and childbirth. NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst is one of six city public hospitals to be outfitted with its own OB simulation lab to help make trainings more accessible for OB teams throughout the system, building on the City’s program to reduce maternal deaths and life-threatening complications from childbirth among women of color.

“Having an on-site OB sim lab at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst is critical for so many of our patients, who often come from underserved communities and have high-risk pregnancies,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst CEO Helen Arteaga Landaverde, MPH. “Simulation training helps ensure that our doctors, nurses, and other team members caring for our pregnant patients have the expertise they need to handle complex cases should they arise. Our staff is very excited to expand Elmhurst’s mission of eliminating health disparities and ensuring good outcomes for new moms and their babies.”

“Our new Mother-Baby Simulation Center will be an excellent medium for serving patients that have highly complex and high-risk but infrequent situations,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst’s Director of OB/GYN Services Dr. Frederick Friedman. “Through simulation training our physicians and nurses can learn to optimize care for these patients and develop and apply skills that result in successful deliveries, leading to better care for women of color and others who may have high risk pregnancies. The diversity of our patient population is unparalleled. While we are practicing, enhancing, and re-enforcing our technical skills, we simultaneously are improving our communicative skills.

“It is fantastic that we now have a state-of-the-art mother-baby simulation center right here in Elmhurst,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “This center will train health care professionals on the best practices for delivering healthy newborns and for caring for delivering mothers. The result will be fewer cases of maternal and infant mortality and better outcomes for all of the mothers and newborns cared for at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst.”

“Every maternal and infant death is a tragedy, and unfortunately these deaths are especially prevalent in low-income communities of color,” said New York City Council Member Shekar Krishnan. “That’s why I’m proud to join Elmhurst Hospital in unveiling this new mother-baby simulator, which will train caregivers to handle the most complex cases. This investment will save the lives of our most valuable and vulnerable: mothers and babies.”

“We have a maternal health crisis that is causing the deaths of mothers and babies and particularly Black and Brown women in our city and state. I’m proud to have passed Lian’s law to further educate health professionals and teachers about maternal health conditions. But we also need investment if we are going to save lives. That is why I’m so proud to join the Elmhurst Hospital CEO Helen Arteaga and staff for the opening of this Mother Baby Simulation Center. The center will help to identify potentially life-threatening conditions during childbirth and is another example of the Elmhurst Hospital family showing up for our community,” said Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas.

The new sim lab replicates OB emergencies, including but not limited to:

  • Maternal hemorrhage
  • Hypertensive emergencies
  • Shoulder dystocia
  • Maternal cardiopulmonary arrest
  • Stat Cesarean Section
  • Cord prolapse
  • Neonatal resuscitation

The simulation lab consists of two rooms: a control room, where simulation leads provide instructions in real time and manipulate the scenarios, and a staged hospital room to carry out the simulations with OB healthcare teams and the mannequins. After the simulations, the team participates in a debrief to review the scenarios, responses, and outcomes.

Funding for the OB simulations was included as part of the City’s previous $12.8M allocation for a comprehensive plan to support the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and NYC Health + Hospitals programming aimed at reducing maternal deaths and life-threatening complications from childbirth among women of color.

The NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst OB Simulation Program started in 2016 collaboration with the NYC Health + Hospitals Simulation Center and has trained hundreds of Elmhurst physicians, nurses, and staff.

Significant racial and ethnic disparities in pregnancy-related mortality exist. According to the CDC, black patients have a pregnancy-related mortality ratio approximately three times as high as that of their white counterparts.


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