Heidi Lane, associate professor of interprofessionalism and senior director of clinical skills assessment and education at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, was promoted to assistant dean for clinical skills assessment and education, effective March 1.

Lane joined the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in 2012 and developed a state-of-the-art clinical skills teaching and testing program that includes a standardized patient program as well as a robust simulation curriculum.

Standardized patients are trained to simulate, in a consistent, standardized manner, a patient in a medical situation. Standardized patient programs are used by VTCSOM and other medical education institutions to help train and evaluate students in a controlled, risk-free educational environment. Lane oversees a full-time staff of six, in addition to more than 50 part-time employees who serve as standardized patients.

“Heidi is widely known as a national and international leader in this field and we are fortunate to have her expertise right here in Roanoke,” said Rick Vari, senior dean for academic affairs at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. “Students begin clinical skills teaching through the standardized patient program from the very beginning of the curriculum and are well-prepared for real patient interactions during and well after medical school.”

The standardized patient program is a key part of the first two years of the curriculum. Lane also oversees the development and implementation of exams at the end of clerkships in the third year of study.

“She has been instrumental in preparing our students to be highly successful on the clinical skills portion of the national medical licensing exam through rigorous examination, honest and timely feedback, and numerous opportunities for students to practice their clinical skills,” Vari said. “She has been very successful at expanding the program to include resident physician training, interprofessional events with Radford University Carilion, and other programs at Carilion Clinic.”

“I am honored to take on this new role at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine,” Lane said. “My team works hard to make our program among the best and we enjoy seeing our students learn the skills and gain confidence in their patient interactions.”

Lane is a founding member of the Association of Standardized Patient Educators. She is also a member of the Mid-Atlantic Consortium (MAC) and serves on the Case Development Committee. In 2007, the Association of Standardized Patient Educators awarded Lane an “Outstanding Educator” award. Internationally, she also works with Kazan State Medical University in Kazan, Russia, to promote excellence in clinical skills.

As part of her new assistant dean role, Lane will work with Lee Learman, dean of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, to develop the medical school’s contributions to the newly created national “Gender Equity Initiative,” and will serve as the school’s liaison to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Lane completed her undergraduate, master of education degree, and doctorate in leadership in higher education at East Carolina University. Prior to joining VTCSOM, she served on the faculty at the University of Florida School of Medicine, NOVA Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

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