Developing a Standardized Tri-Service Medical
Simulation Platform: The TOPS Initiative

Alan Liu, Thomas Talbot, Terry Yoo,
Solomon Sherfey, Eric Acosta, Gilbert Muniz

MMVR 2011

Workshop Members

  • Alan Liu, Ph.D.

    Dr. Liu is the Director of the Virtual Medical Environments Laboratory at the National Capital Area Medical Simulation Center (SimCen). He is involved in defining the SimCen's strategic research goals, and directing the development of the SimCen's computer-based medical training systems. Dr. Liu is the principal developer of the center's pericardiocentesis and diagnostic peritoneal lavage simulators. They are the world's first computer-based trainers for these procedures. These simulators were used in the nation's first Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) course conducted without animals or cadavers. Dr. Liu is also the principal architect for the center's cricothyroidotomy simulator. Dr. Liu has conducted numerous tutorials and workshops on medical simulation, including tutorials and workshops at MMVR 2002-2008. Dr. Liu's current research focus includes the development of the SimCen's WAVE, a 1000 sq. ft. total immersion virtual environment for mass casualty training, with applications in military medical readiness, and homeland defense.

  • MAJ Thomas B. Talbot, MD, MS, US AMC

    Major Thomas B. Talbot, MD is the Chair of the Armed Forces Simulation Institute for Medicine (AFSIM) and JPC-1a for medical simulation and training. He is portfolio manager of medical modeling, simulation and training portfolio at the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) at Fort Detrick, Maryland where he oversees research and development. Major Talbot has more than 14 years experience as a developer. As a pediatrician, military officer and futurist, Major Talbot endeavors to develop concepts that will advance the state of the art in medical education and patient care. Areas of interest include natural user interfaces, virtual and augmented reality, interactive technologies and extreme data fusion. He envisions a future where clinician education is a daily experience and where technology is employed to better connect to and engage patients.

  • Terry S. Yoo, Ph.D.

    Terry S. Yoo is a Computer Scientist in the Office of High Performance Computing and Communications, National Library of Medicine, NIH, where he heads the Program for 3D Informatics. His research explores the processing and visualizing of 3D medical data, interactive 3D graphics, and computational geometry. He is also the project officer who conceived and managed the development of ITK, the Insight Toolkit, under the Visible Human Project. Previously as a professor of Radiology, he managed a research program in Interventional MRI with the University of Mississippi. Terry holds an A.B. in Biology from Harvard, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from UNC Chapel Hill.

  • Solomon Sherfey, MS

    Solomon Sherfey (“Sol”) is a Project Scientist at the Virginia Modeling Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) and currently participating in a congressionally sponsored project to investigate the role of standards in modeling and simulation, and how the government may promote and enable their development and use. Sol received his Master’s degree in Computer Science at the Naval Postgraduate School while serving as a Submarine Warfare Officer, and upon retiring from the US Navy worked as the Simulation Database Manager for the Joint War Fighting Center in Suffolk, VA, for 12 years before coming to VMASC. Sol’s research interests include Human Cognitive and Behavioral modeling, Robotics, and Geographic Information Systems, while at home “anything involving sawdust, metal chips, greasy hands and explosives” seems to catch his eye.

  • Eric Acosta, Ph.D.

    Dr. Eric Acosta is a Computer Research Scientist at the National Capital Area Medical Simulation Center. He is the lead researcher and developer of several Virtual Reality-based surgical simulators that include haptic, visual, and audio feedback. His research focus has been on the development of the simulation center's head trauma, cricothyroidotomy, and pulmonary artery catheterization simulators. Dr. Acosta is also one of primary architects and the developer of a pipelined virtual environment architecture for multi-core CPU systems. The architecture serves as a unified platform for developing the Sim Center’s next generation simulators. Dr. Acosta received his PhD in 2006 from Texas Tech University, with his dissertation topic focused on establishing a software development platform for stable haptic Virtual Reality applications.

  • Gilbert Muniz, Ph.D.

    Gilbert M. Muniz, Ph. D. is the Deputy Director of the National Capital Area Medical Simulation Center at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU). He is an Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Nursing. As the chief operating officer of the center he is directly responsible for daily operations, marketing and strategic planning. Dr. Muniz is a recognized authority in military medicine, medical education and in medical simulation technology. In his military career, Dr. Muniz managed over $2 billion of DOD medical facilities projects. He also served as the Assistant Commandant of the School of Medicine at USU. More recently, he was the key planner and architect who established the world-class, USU military medical simulation center. Currently he is managing over $9 million of research projects. Key amongst these is a project to establish a Wide Area Virtual Environment (WAVE). The WAVE is a 1,000SF, 3-D immersive environment designed to run training scenarios for large numbers of medical personnel so they can practice, for example, mass casualty training for victims of weapons of mass destruction and/or other disasters. Dr. Muniz is also working on an initiative to establish strategic partnerships with the Army, Navy and Air Force medical simulation training platforms.