Events

Patrick Kenny, Thomas Parsons, Skip Rizzo, Caroly Pataki, Jeffery Sugar, Michele Pato, Cheryl St. George: “Virtual Justina: A PTSD Virtual Patient for Clinical Classroom Training”

June 23, 2008 | San Diego, CA

Speaker: Patrick Kenny, Thomas Parsons, Skip Rizzo, Caroly Pataki, Jeffery Sugar, Michele Pato, Cheryl St. George
Host: CyberTherapy 2008

The effects of trauma exposure manifest themselves in a wide range of symptoms: anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, fear, and various behavior problems. Effective interview skills are a core competency for the clinicians who will be working with children and adolescents exposed to trauma. The current project aims to improve child and adolescent psychiatry residents, and medical students’ interviewing skills and diagnostic acumen through practice with a female adolescent virtual human with post-traumatic stress disorder. This interaction with a virtual patient provides a context where immediate feedback can be provided regarding trainees’ interviewing skills in terms of psychiatric knowledge, sensitivity, and effectiveness. Results suggest that a virtual standardized patient can generate responses that elicit user questions relevant for PTSD categorization. We conclude with a discussion of the ways in which these capabilities allow virtual patients to serve as unique training tools whose special knowledge and reactions can be continually fed back to trainees. Our initial goal is to focus on a virtual patient with PTSD, but a similar strategy could be applied to teaching a broad variety of psychiatric diagnoses to trainees at every level from medical students, to psychiatry residents, to child and adolescent psychiatry residents.