Lou Clark, PhD, MFA

Executive Director

Lou Clark

United States

Lou Clark is the Executive Director of M Simulation with the Office of Academic Clinical Affairs and an Associate Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine with the Medical School at the University of Minnesota (UMN). As M Simulation Executive Director, she provides oversight and guidance for healthcare simulation education and training across health sciences programs and system campuses at UMN. Dr. Clark is also an Executive Committee member and Affiliate Faculty member with UMN’s new Center for Interprofessional Health, and the Assistant Director for the Essentials of Clinical Medicine (ECM) Course in which she teaches and mentors first year medical students in their clinical skill development. In addition to her background as a healthcare educator and social scientist, she is an award-winning theatre artist of many years and this background is central to her approach for simulation work and in coaching healthcare trainees in support of their clinical communication skills development.

Dr. Clark has over fifteen years of experience designing and delivering simulated educational experiences for healthcare trainees and other practitioners including medical, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, physician assistant, pharmacy, law, and occupational therapy students in addition to chaplains, residents and attending faculty. She has worked in several related full-time positions including as the Assistant Dean of Clinical Skills Education & Innovation at the TCU-UNT Medical School and as Deputy Director of Clinical Simulation for the Val G. Hemming Simulation Center at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). At USUHS, she oversaw the SP Program and Hybrid Procedural Skills Lab, and collaborated with several GME colleagues at Walter Reed Military Medical Center in support of resident education. Her work, across positions and time, focuses on creating simulation education programs for advanced communication skill development such as breaking bad news, counseling for patients with suicidal ideation, partnering with LGBTQ+ patients, providing informed consent, and on training providers to support patients who experienced military sexual assault.

As a researcher, she employs qualitative and mixed-methods approaches to studying issues central to clinical communication skills development especially compassion and empathy in healthcare simulation training. Representative peer reviewed scholarship includes publications in Simulation in HealthcareBMJ Simulation & Technology Enhanced LearningHealth Communication, and Communication Monographs. Dr. Clark also co-edited and co-authored the book Implementing Best Practices in Standardized Patient Methodology published in 2020 as part of Springer’s Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation series.

Professional service includes a term as the Grants & Research Chair on the Board of Directors for the Association of SP Educators (ASPE) and as the Chair of the SP Special Interest Group for the Society of Simulation in Healthcare. Dr. Clark is also the Course Lead/Course Developer for Training & Development with the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication MA Online Program at Arizona State University; and an Instructor providing Medical Education expertise for the Health Communication Online Master’s (HCOM) Program at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She holds a BA and MA from Mahattanville College, a Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing from the University of New Mexico, and Ph.D. in Human Communication with emphases in Health and Organizational Communication from Arizona State University.


Ph.D. Arizona State University, Communication

M.F.A. University of New Mexico, Theatre & Dance

M.A. Manhattanville College, Liberal Studies

B.A. Manhattanville College

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Current Grant Funded Simulation Education Research:

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) – Co-Investigator: Strengthening Support of Survivors with an Expanded SANE Workforce: A Trauma-Informed Care Community of Practice Program. $499,184, 2-year period of performance. University of Minnesota – Dr. Carolyn Porta, Principal Investigator, 2021

Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) – Principal Investigator: Developing and Assessing the Impact of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Professional Development Training with Standardized Patients ASPE Research Award. $8,000, 2-year period of performance. Dr. Tamara Owens – Howard University, Co-Principal Investigator. 2021

University of Minnesota Institute for Advanced Study – Co-Principal Investigator: Indigenous Good Birth Project. $6,000, 1-year period of performance. University of Minnesota – Dr. Bridget Basile Ibrahim & Dr. Katy Backes Kozhimannil, Co-Principal Investigators. 2020

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Simulation Education Consultant: Advancing the Centers for Excellence in Newcomer Health. $829,413, 5-year period of performance. Blain Mamo – Minnesota Department of Health, Principal Investigator, Dr. Hope Pogemiller – University of Minnesota, Co-Principal Investigator. 2020

Recent Publications:

Gliva-McConvey, G., Nicholas, C., & Clark. L. (2020) Comprehensive Healthcare Simulation: Implementing Best Practices in Standardized Patient Methodology. New York, NY: Springer.

Peer Reviewed Articles:

Clark, L., Woll, A., Owens, T. L., Shropshire, D., Kiser, B., Gephardt, G., & Park, C. S. (2021). SP safety, autonomy and healthcare simulation practice in the COVID-19 era. BMJ Simulation and Technology Enhanced Learning, bmjstel-2020.

Burt, L., Corbridge, S., Corte, C., Quinn, L., Finnegan, L., & Clark, L. (2021). Ways that nurse practitioner students self-explain during diagnostic reasoning. Diagnosis. 5

Adame E, Tracy S, Town S, Towels M, Razzante R, Tietsort C, Kamrath JK, Clark L, Tremblay R, Pettigrew J, Donovan MC. (2021) Can we create the “Being” of leadership?: A mixed-methods study of two leadership pedagogies at a southwestern, US University. Journal of Applied Communication Research.

Park, C. S., Clark, L., Gephardt, G., Robertson, J. M., Miller, J., Downing, D. K., ... & Rethans, J. J. (2020). Manifesto for healthcare simulation practice. BMJ Simulation and Technology Enhanced Learning, 6(6).

Lee, W., Clark, L., Wortmann, K., Pock, A., Taylor, L. (2019) Inter-professional healthcare provider training utilizing standardized patients to strengthen care for sexual assault patients. Simulation in Healthcare Journal.