The Story of ASSH

On the 28th February, 2000 the then Simulation Industry Australia Association (SIAA) hosted a half day medical simulation symposium on the first day of the SimTecT conference held at the Sydney Exhibition and Conference Centre, Darling Harbour. Professor Bruce Barraclough, the then president of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons endorsed the symposium and joined Professor John Cartmill and Dr Patrick Cregan as speakers. “Simulation is the key to improving the skills and shortening the training of surgeons. We need to use simulation in the medical environment to improve, define and develop surgical skills in order to improve the quality and safety of surgical services" (B. Barraclough in promotional materials SimTecT 2000.)

On May 28th 2001 Dr Patrick Cregan convened the first meeting of the Medical Simulation Society in Canberra. This was followed by another medical symposium on May 26th 2003 in Adelaide as part of the SimTecT conference. As the numbers interested in medical simulation grew particularly in surgery and anaesthesia there was an increased interest in health simulation meetings. In 2004 there was enough interest to have a parallel 3 day medical symposium as part of the SimTecT conference, with the focus moving beyond medicine to include all areas of healthcare.

This momentum continued with 2005 seeing the first SimTecT Healthcare Conference, held as a stand alone meeting convened by Dr Brendan Flanagan and Dr Leonie Watterson. It was at this meeting the Dr Flanagan presented the attendees with a white paper outlining the benefits of the establishment of a national simulation society. He stated in this paper that “The time is right to form a unified entity to represent the increasing amount of interest in Australia in the use of simulation in all its forms in healthcare education, training and research and to advance the use of simulation in addressing the issue of patient safety. Such a society would be very broadly multidisciplinary in its representation with membership from all sectors of under- and post-graduate medicine, nursing, paramedic and allied health clinicians and educators as well as representatives from government and industry”.

It was voted by attendees at this meeting that work towards the establishment of the Australian Society of Simulation in Healthcare as a sub committee for the SIAA board and have it’s own chair / president. ASSH was formally established in 2007, Associate Professor Brendan Flanagan as the first elected chair.

In 2013 the ASSH conference (by then known as SimHealth) joined again with their Simulation Industry colleagues and a joint conference was held in Brisbane in September. This has continued for 2014/15 (in Adelaide) and beyond.

With thanks to Peter Hill for his contribution to the gathering of this information.