COS pre-med students get hands-on clinical medicine training

Workshop in Smart Hospital provides practice in basic skills, virtual reality exercises

Thursday, May 30, 2024 • Greg Pederson :

Clinical Workshop
Clinical Experience Workshop leaders, UTA pre-med and theater students, and UTA Libraries staff members.

A group of College of Science pre-medical students recently received valuable hands-on clinical training during a workshop in the new Smart Hospital at The University of Texas at Arlington.

The Clinical Experience Workshop, held May 13-23 in the Social Work and CONHI Smart Hospital Building, allowed 10 pre-med students to participate in experiential activities as well as to interact one-on-one with “patients” who were portrayed by students from the UTA Department of Theatre Arts.

Students were able to learn skills including checking vital signs, starting an IV line, and delivering a baby, all by utilizing the lifelike manikins in the state-of-the-art Smart Hospital. They also learned various medical procedures and participated in virtual reality exercises in the Smart Hospital’s simulation lab.

“This was a clinical experiential opportunity for pre-med students with no clinical background to be immersed in clinical medicine, learn basic skills, and experience actual patient encounters with simulated patients who were actually trained UTA theater students,” said Dr. Steve Gellman, College of Science pre-med consultant and co-director of the minor in medical humanities and bioethics program.

During the live patient portion of the workshop, each theater student portrayed a patient with specific symptoms which the pre-med students attempted to diagnose.

Assisting in the workshop were Dr. Jocelyn Zee, DO, a COS alumna and 2016 recipient of the UTA Distinguished Alumni Award; Allante Milsap, a medical student from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas; Paul Koester, a medical student from Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth; Jennifer Roye, UTA assistant dean for simulation and technology; and Erica Hinojosa, UTA simulation technology manager.

Clinical experience workshop
Students learned basic clinical skills including checking patient vital signs. Photo courtesy of Steve Gellman.

“The workshop was so much fun — for the students and staff. There was universal agreement that this was a valuable and memorable experience that will have a lasting impact on the participants,” Gellman said. “Experiential learning is an excellent path toward meaningful and lasting education, especially for teaching the important humanities aspect of patient care.”

The workshop was made possible by funds from the UTA Libraries Department of Experiential Learning and the College of Science. Chloe Bennett, UTA experiential learning librarian, was instrumental in securing the library grant and coordinating the curriculum and simulated patients (theater students). The workshop is just one of the many ways the College of Science helps to prepare students for medical and other health professions schools.

The Office of Health Professions has two advisors (Sandy Hobart and Haylei Dishinger) and offers test prep classes, a pre-med preceptorship program, career information events featuring health professionals from various fields, an annual Health Professions Fair, and more. The office also oversees the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP), which is led by Greg Hale, COS assistant dean. JAMP supports and encourages highly qualified, economically disadvantaged Texas resident students pursuing a medical education. A variety of health profession student organizations offer clinics and workshops as well as networking and volunteer opportunities.

Another popular program the office offers is an EMT class, which has been held at UTA for the past two years and will again be open to students in Fall 2024, from August 25 to December 2. The class allows students to earn an EMT certification via a hybrid online and in-person class, with in-person sessions once a week on the UTA campus. The class is offered in partnership with UT Dallas and University Emergency Medical Response and is not a UTA course. For more information about the course, please email Sheila Elliott, program director, at


The UTA College of Science, a Carnegie R1 research institution, is preparing the next generation of leaders in science through innovative education and hands-on research and offers programs in Biology, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Data Science, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Health Professions, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology. To support educational and research efforts visit the giving page, or if you're a prospective student interested in beginning your #MaverickScience journey visit our future students page.