Press Releases

Children’s Minnesota opens new onsite pediatric simulation center with $1.25 million gift from Michael and Judith Wright

Dedicated space allows clinicians to practice tough medical situations and rare procedures in a realistic environment

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – July 25, 2016 – Children’s Minnesota today announced the opening of its onsite pediatric simulation center created by a $1.25 million gift from Michael and Judith Wright. Named the Michael and Judith Wright Family Pediatric Simulation Center, it features an exact replica of a Children’s Minnesota intensive care unit room, providing health care providers and medical students with a safe and realistic environment to train and practice high-risk procedures and increase team communication, coordination and skills through real-time hospital scenarios.

“Part of Children’s Minnesota’s commitment to improving outcomes and patient safety, as well as developing innovative new procedures, results from practicing non-patient-based procedures in a simulated environment,” said David Dassenko, MD, medical director of the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit at Children’s Minnesota. “This dedicated, onsite simulation center means we can continuously improve the care we provide by frequently training our teams on complex procedures and how to function and communicate in chaotic, high-stress situations in a low-risk setting.”

The 8,000-square-foot Michael and Judith Wright Family Pediatric Simulation Center uses computerized infant- and child-size mannequins, along with sights and sounds, to reproduce a clinical environment that provides the same physical and mental stresses and challenges that would occur in a real emergency. A state-of-the-art control room allows technicians to run three simulations simultaneously, and a debriefing room allows the group to review video playback and discuss what went well and analyze opportunities for change and improvement. In the future, Children’s Minnesota plans to utilize new technology to share simulations externally for conferences and webinars.

“Children’s Minnesota is deeply grateful for the generosity of the Wright family,” said Roxanne Fernandes, RN, Chief Nursing Officer at Children’s Minnesota. “While we have been doing simulation for years, this gift allows us to continue to promote education, research and the delivery of safe, innovative health care for children in a dedicated space within our hospital. It’s really about maximizing the learning experience and improving communication and teamwork.”

In 2015, Children’s Minnesota staff participated in over 4,000 hours of training at an offsite location or as space was available in patient units. With a dedicated onsite facility, the Center will be more easily accessible for staff, especially those on night and weekend shifts in Minneapolis. The Center will also be used by clinicians across the Children’s Minnesota system, as well as clinicians in the region. In addition, it is anticipated that the Center will attract and retain top-talent physicians graduating from medical schools today who have come to expect access to onsite simulation centers for hands-on training.

The Michael and Judith Wright Family Pediatric Simulation Center is the first and only pediatric simulation center in the state to meet the rigorous accreditation standards of the Society of Simulation for Healthcare, the simulation community’s accreditor for simulation programs.

“We are very proud to be a part of something that will help improve outcomes for kids. Having an onsite simulation center within a pediatric hospital is rare in the United States and creates a huge learning opportunity for clinicians and medical students. Simulation will continue to grow in importance, and Children’s Minnesota is now positioned to be a leader at the forefront of that movement,” said Michael Wright, who was formerly a longtime CEO at SUPERVALU, Inc.

“Children’s Minnesota saved the lives of two of our granddaughters, Judith (JJ) Harrington and Chloe Reppenhagen, who suffered at birth from heart conditions,” added Judith Wright, Children’s Minnesota Foundation Board Member. “We know first-hand how great Children’s Minnesota is, which is why we chose to support simulation and help build an even brighter future for this valuable community asset.”

In addition to the lead gift from Michael and Judith Wright, funds raised from Challenge for Children’s, an annual event hosted by MN Pro Paintball, and other community supporters will help support the new Center.

The Center will be located within the Children’s Minnesota Minneapolis campus and is scheduled to begin simulations next month.


About Children’s Minnesota
Children’s Minnesota is one of the largest pediatric health systems in the United States and the only health system in Minnesota to provide care exclusively to children, from before birth through young adulthood. An independent and not-for-profit system since 1924, Children’s Minnesota serves kids throughout the Upper Midwest at two free-standing hospitals, 12 primary and specialty-care clinics and six rehabilitation sites. Children’s Minnesota maintains its longstanding commitment to the community to improve children’s health by providing high-quality, family-centered pediatric services and advancing those efforts through research and education. This work is made possible in large part by generous philanthropic and volunteer support from individuals and organizations throughout the state and region. An award-winning health system, Children’s Minnesota is regularly ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top children’s hospital and by The Leapfrog Group for quality and efficiency. Please visit