“I’m Incredibly Lucky”
TouroCOM Middletown’s Dr. Joyce Brown on Medicine, Teaching, and Simulation
Dr. Joyce Brown, Director of Simulation and the Vice Chair of TouroCOM Middletown’s Department of Primary Care, always knew what she wanted to become a doctor. Her job at TouroCOM was the combination of all her interests.
“I remember being a small child at the pediatrician’s office, knowing that this was what I wanted to do,” said Brown. “I was a science nerd and everything about physiology and the sciences fascinated me. But my mother was a teacher and I always wanted to teach. I had these dueling passions that just came together.”
Brown, an emergency medicine physician, began teaching at TouroCOM Harlem in 2008 and eventually became a full-time faculty member. After completing a certification course in Simulation Education, she helped expand TouroCOM Harlem’s Simulation Center. When TouroCOM Middletown opened in 2014, she joined the school and then launched the Middletown campus’s full-fledged simulation lab. State-of-the-art robotic manikins in the lab simulate a wide variety of disorders and sicknesses—including asthma and blood pressure problems. The manikins are also programmed to respond to drugs. However, Dr. Brown doesn’t rely solely only technology: she also employs up to 30 trained actors to help teach students how to work with patients and correctly diagnose illnesses.
“Medical students are always nervous,” she explained. “The Sim Lab is the place for them to think, to learn, and become the best physicians they can be, in a safe environment without having to worry about hurting anyone.”
“There is a big difference between learning something in a book and performing something,” said Dr. Brown. “Students are reminded of why they’re becoming doctors. Every time I train a student, there’s an exponential impact. That student will go on to treat hundreds of patients and I get to instill in them the love of medicine that I have. I’m incredibly lucky.”