Mount Pleasant

The simulation center on the campus of Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant includes two control rooms and fourteen patient rooms, two of which are setup for high fidelity manikin simulations. The center supports a wide variety of learners and curriculums including medical students, physician assistant students, resident physicians, nursing students and more through teaching sessions and Objective Structured Clinical Examination. The center’s main priority is delivering supplemental instruction to first and second year medical students in Essentials of Clinical Skills longitudinal coursework. Training in support of the MD program curriculum includes foundational sciences and physical examinations that correlate with instruction on the major organ systems. Students develop strong interpersonal and clinical skills through Standardized Patient simulations to become experts in best practices as well as effective communicators with a compassionate bedside manner.


The Simulation Center located in Saginaw totals nearly 10,000 square feet of space, features five simulation suites, two debriefing rooms with high-definition videoconferencing capabilities, large task training/wet labs, a workshop and office areas. In addition to very sophisticated manikins that can speak, breathe, and mimic almost any medical condition, we now can teach surgical skills with highly realistic virtual reality trainers and even a DaVinci surgical robot control panel.

The Center supports a wide array of participants which includes resident physicians, medical students in their clinical rotations, respiratory therapists, nurses and other allied health personnel. As part of our community outreach, the center has recently implemented “mock code” team-based training for hospital employees and is providing obstetrical workshops off site upon request. Our obstetrical manikin can very realistically deliver a baby and she can even have a Cesarean section.

We proudly adhere to the underlying institutional mission of providing outstanding medical education to not only undergraduate and graduate level medical trainees, but also to the community at large. We are able to tailor activities to a variety of specific learners. For example, we have designed a curriculum specifically for University pre-medical students who are preparing for the rigors and expectations of the medical profession.

The importance of excellence in communication, teamwork, and closed-loop communication is a constant emphasis to all of our abecedarians. These skills have proven to be essential in outstanding patient care and good outcomes. Each and every staff member at the Simulation center promotes patient safety and best practices, while creating a safe environment in which participants can practice and hone their medical skills.

Faculty & Staff

Rachel Older
Manager, Standardized Patient and Simulation Center

Rachel OlderRachel graduated from Baker College with a Bachelor of Science in Education. She has a background in teaching, tutoring, and medical research. Since joining the simulation team in Mt. Pleasant, she has expanded her teaching background to include working with resident physicians as well as medical, physician assistant, and nursing students. As Program Manager, Rachel works closely with faculty and staff in Mt. Pleasant and Saginaw to create and implement simulation activities to enhance educational outcomes. She oversees program resources, strategic planning, data collection and analytics, and program growth. She is also a professional educator; since joining the team in 2014, she has become a Basic Life Support Instructor, Scrub Trainer, and teaching assistant for suturing and vital signs. Rachel believes in the idea of life-long learning and values being a part of the College of Medicine in preparing students to do just that.

Jocelyn Steffke
Training Coordinator

Jocelyn SteffkeAs Training Coordinator for the Institute for Medical Simulation with CMU's College of Medicine, Jocelyn collaborates with faculty on the development/refinement of content and objectives for new and existing Standardized Patient cases, materials, and assessment. She manages and develops a large and diverse group of Standardized Patients within the program. In doing such, she provides intensive trainings to prepare them to portray realistic patients as well as how to accurately evaluate the students on both their physical exam skills and interviewing, communication and rapport skills. Together they work to provide the students with individual, value added feedback from every encounter and session. She joined the university in early 2014. Prior to joining the Standardized Patient Program, she worked in senior-level administration as Executive Assistant to the Dean of the College of Medicine. Before working in medical education, she worked to improve patient satisfaction scores and safety for the hospital and clinics at McLaren Central Michigan as the Patient Relations and Risk Management Coordinator. She is an active member of the Association of Standardized Patient Educators as well as an American Heart Association Instructor. Jocelyn is pursuing her Master of Science in Administration degree and focusing research efforts on medical simulation education. She earned a Bachelor degree in Marketing and Merchandising from Central Michigan University in 2008. She is also a Certified Yoga Teacher and enjoys instructing advanced level classes to a variety of audiences and especially likes sharing her passion with the medical students. She takes great pride in working in medical education and knows what an amazing opportunity it is to be able to contribute to student learning and impact how those students treat their patients in the future as physicians and other healthcare providers.

Sophie Watters
Coordinator, Standardized Patient Program

Sophie WattersSophie Watters is the Standardized Patient Program Coordinator on the Mount Pleasant campus of the College of Medicine. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Community Development and a Master’s degree in Health Services Administration, both obtained from Central Michigan University. As the Program Coordinator, Sophie works closely with various faculty, staff, and students on both the Mt. Pleasant and Saginaw campuses in coordinating and conducting medical simulation sessions. Sophie first joined the College of Medicine as a Curriculum Coordinator for the College of Medicine, supporting faculty and coordinating the delivery of curriculum, and other various tasks with respect to Office of Medical Education. Prior to entering into medical education, she worked in the human services field with Senior Adults as Volunteer Program Supervisor. Sophie is dedicated to providing experiences that will provide the students with the skills and knowledge to excel in their medical career path.

Robert Sasso, MD, FACOG

Robert SassoDr. Sasso graduated valedictorian from Seton Hall University and is a graduate of Duke University School of Medicine. He did his internship and residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah Medical Center and completed a one-year fellowship in reproductive surgery and infertility in Miami Beach, Florida at Mt. Sinai Hospital. 

Dr. Sasso dedicated the last 15 years of his clinical career to advanced laparoscopic and minimally invasive surgery and infertility, producing both video and journal publications on new techniques in laparoscopic surgery. Dr. Sasso previously served as a Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Clinical Medicine, as well as Director of Medical Simulation, at Ross University School of Medicine. He provided faculty development in the history of simulation, debriefing techniques, and adult learning theory. Dr. Sasso lectured at Ross in obstetrics, gynecology, and infertility and was engaged in ongoing qualitative research involving student and facilitator changing perceptions in a problem-based learning platform. 

In January 2017, Dr. Sasso became the Director of Medical Simulation at Central Michigan University College of Medicine and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He now engages in simulation medical education and research at the undergraduate and graduate level, simulation education for health care professionals, and supervises clinically at the OBGYN resident outpatient clinics.

Mena Khan, MD, CHSE
Assistant Director

Mena KahnDr. Mena Khan graduated from University of California San Diego and completed her medical degree at Ross University School of Medicine. Upon graduation, she worked at Ross University on the Dominica campus in the Department of Clinical Medicine in the following roles: Clinical Teaching Fellow, Clinical Instructor and then Simulation Manager, all in the short time frame of three years. In addition to her medical degree, her background includes teaching as a public school teacher in California for over ten years. Her love of education evolved into a desire to teach adult learners at a high level. Introduction to medical simulation became the conduit to unify her two passions: medicine and education. In 2015, she applied for and completed the Simulation Instructor Course at the Center for Medical Simulation at Harvard University. In 2016, she became a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE) with the Society for Simulation in Healthcare (SSH). During this time, she was integral in maintaining the Society of Simulation in Health Care accreditation of Ross University School of Medicine's simulation program as one of only seven international centers to hold that title. She has overseen and managed several faculty development courses that incorporate debriefing techniques, history of medical simulation and adult learning theory. Most recently, she and Dr. Sasso spearheaded the accreditation process for CMU College of Medicine Institute for Medical Simulation through the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, for which CMU was recently rewarded.

Heather Lange
Simulation Specialist, Paramedic Instructor Coordinator

Heather LangeHeather began her career in health care in 2008 after completing the EMT- Basic program at Mobile Medical Response (MMR), Inc. In 2010, she obtained her paramedic license and continued to work for Mobile Medical Response as a road medic. In September of 2012, Heather became an EMS Instructor Coordinator licensed through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. In 2013, Heather became the American Heart Association Coordinator at MMR, and three years later she accepted a position as EMT Course Coordinator.

After several years of working with patients and instructing students, Heather made the choice to broaden her adventures and accepted a position with Central Michigan University College of Medicine. Working alongside the team in the Simulation Center, she is learning the technology for running simulations, setting up equipment, and moulage.

Jody Nitz, RRT, CHSE
Professional Educator

Jody NitzJody became part of the CMU Simulation team where he works as a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) and Professional Educator. His degree and respiratory training was accomplished through the United States Air Force. He has over 13 years with the Air Force at Selfridge Air National Guard as part of a Critical Care Air Transport Team. His Air Force career includes many deployments to overseas sites and numerous accolades for his service. Following his graduation from the Air Force respiratory program, Jody has worked with the Covenant Healthcare Respiratory Department. Within this department he has grown to be a leader with education both with his peers and college students. His passion to teach led him to transition into a role with Simulation at CMU while maintaining patient care at Covenant and with the U.S. Air Force. Jody's clinical experience affords him the ability to play many different roles in the High-Fidelity simulation that the Covenant HealthCare Simulation Center provides. His focus with teaching is to provide the highest level of care to any patient which is achieved though attention to detail. Jody teaches many of the classes offered and adds his own "respiratory flare." He also works closely with many of our outreach services to include: Mock Code Services, Community Based CPR/AED programs, etc. Most recently, he has become a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator with the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.

Leah E. Rouleau, MSN, RN, CHSE
Professional Educator

Leah E. RouleauLeah Rouleau began her career in the Emergency Department as an NCA. She earned her associate's degree in nursing from Delta College in 2005, and completed her bachelor's degree in nursing education at Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) in 2009. Leah completed her master's degree in nursing science and in healthcare administration and education at SVSU in 2013. Leah was motivated to pursue a career in healthcare in 1997 after her grandmother experienced a stroke. 

She has taught nursing clinical to students at Delta College, SVSU, Davenport University and the University of Michigan-Flint. She worked at Covenant HealthCare for 11 years, mostly in medical-surgical nursing and at Mid-Michigan Health as an oncology nurse. Working in the hospital environment helped Leah realize the importance of familiarity with disease processes and being hands-on in her approach. 

Working with the nursing students at college simulation labs, and teaching them through task trainers and scenarios to communicate and critically think through their next actions, instilled a passion for the impact of simulation learning. Working as a professional educator in simulation is a dream come true for her. Most recently, she has become a Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator with the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.

Jessica Tuck, BS
Simulation Specialist

Jessica TuckJessica Tuck is the Simulation Operations Specialist of the Covenant Healthcare Simulation Center. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Saginaw Valley State University with a minor in Chemistry. Jessica comes to the Simulation Center with multiple years of experience as a police, fire, and medical dispatcher. Along with coordinating and scheduling all activities in the simulation lab, Jessica also works behind the scenes programming scenarios, setting up equipment, creating moulage, and running simulations. As the simulation Operation Specialist, Jessica also engages in the important work of data collection and analysis interfacing with information technology on a network level and maintaining smooth operation of a complex technological system. Her hobbies include photography, art, and camping with her husband and dog. Simulation moulage allows Jessica to incorporate her hobbies and creative skills into her work through the creation of life-like injuries to assist in weaving story-lines that will enhance the learner’s simulation experience. Jessica transitioned into the medical simulation field in 2016 and is proud to be part of such a dedicated and innovative group.