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Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation

CHIPS exterior of buildingThe Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation (CHIPS) is a 45,000 square foot stand-alone building for healthcare simulation and interprofessional education. The state-of-the-art facility opened in 2018 and is designed to meet the simulation needs of all UTHSC students, residents, professional staff, and clinical partners. Learn more about CHIPS.

Meet Our Staff


Chad Epps, MD, FSSH
Executive Director of Healthcare Simulation
Chad Epps photo

Chad Epps, MD trained in Anesthesiology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center and completed a fellowship in Human Patient Simulation at Mount Sinai's Human Emulation Education and Evaluation Lab for Patient Safety and Professionalism. He joined UTHSC in 2016 as the Executive Director of Healthcare Simulation. As a fellow, faculty, and director of simulation he has been active in simulation education, research, assessment, and center management since 2004. He has successfully implemented high quality interprofessional simulations across both Universities and Health Systems. Dr. Epps is the President of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare and in the past served as Chair of the Council on Accreditation of Healthcare Simulation Programs. He is published in the areas of simulation-based interprofessional education and co-edited the recently released textbook Defining Excellence in Simulation Programs (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2014).

Teresa Britt, MSN, RN, CHSE
Director of Education
Teresa Britt

Ms. Teresa Britt, MSN, RN, CHSE is the Director of Education for the Center for Healthcare Improvement and Patient Simulation at UTHSC. Ms. Britt has been a nurse since 1977, in nursing education since 1982, and specifically in clinical simulation development since 1992. She was one of the founding board members for the Tennessee Simulation Alliance, and is currently serving this organization as President. Teresa was selected by the National League of Nursing as a Simulation Leader in 2016, an honor which has provided her with opportunities to collaborate with Simulation Nursing Leaders from across the nation. She has extensive knowledge of current methodologies and best practices for utilization of Simulated Patients in healthcare education and is an active member of the Association of Standardized Patient Educators. She has been involved for many years with both the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL) and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, where she is part of several committees and Special Interest Groups and has served as a Simulation Mentor to new members. As the Director of Education, Ms. Britt assists the development of clinical simulations, using both standardized patients and a range of simulation technologies. She will facilitate simulation development activities and serve as a mentor for simulation implementation. Mrs. Britt's interests are in faculty development, patient safety and simulation for replacement of traditional clinical training.

Jamie Pitt, BA, MMHPE
Assistant Director of Education for Standardized/Simulated Patients

Jamie received a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO and will receive a Masters in Medical & Health Professions Education in 2019 from Eastern Virginia Medical School. Ms. Pitt is an award-winning professional actor, and improviser with national tours for Missoula Children’s Theatre and Metro Theatre Company. She is a founding cast member of Paper Slip Theatre Company specializing in improvisational performances, workshops and classes for all ages. Before joining the UTHSC team in 2018, she spent over 10 years at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO as the Standardized Patient Program Manager. Her recent research focuses on identifying the key behaviors that drive team performance as well as patient and team satisfaction across different health disciplines, to provide individualized coaching that improves the performance of healthcare teams. In her role as Assistant Director of Education for Standardized/Simulated Patients, she oversees all aspects of the Standardized Patient program and educational activities utilizing this methodology for UTHSC.

Natalie Ensminger, MA
Standardized/Simulated Patient Trainer
Natalie Ensminger

Natalie Ensminger has a Master of Arts in Teaching from Christian Brothers University and was the Executive Director of the Indie Memphis Film Festival. She uses her background in education and energy for working with creative people to help the Kaplan Clinical Skills Center prepare future healthcare providers by providing learning opportunities with realistic patients.


Tim Dotson, BA
Standardized/Simulated Patient Trainer
Timothy Dotson

Tim Dotson received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Tennessee State University and is co-founder/Executive Director of a theatre production company called Inner City South. Mr. Dotson started at UTHSC as a standardized patient/ proctor in the Kaplan Clinical Skills Center in 2014. In 2019, he joined the CHIPS staff as a Standardized Patient Trainer. Tim looks forward to serving CHIPS clients and broadening his knowledge in the world of healthcare simulation.

Jarrod Young, BSBME, CHSOS
Simulation Operations Lead
Jarrod Young

Jarrod Young joined the UTHSC Simulation Program in 2016 as the Simulation Operations Lead. Mr. Young received his Bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and has experience in laboratory, educational, and clinical settings. As a former rehabilitation engineer, Jarrod worked with rehabilitation assistive technologies, including ergonomic considerations, product design, and product modifications.

Mr. Young entered into the field of healthcare simulation at UAB’s Office of Interprofessional Simulation (OIPS). During his time with OIPS, Jarrod was project lead on multiple OIPS strategic priorities, including product design projects with the School of Engineering, and was responsible for training and supervising simulation specialists, simulation technicians, and work study students in OIPS. Mr. Young also holds a Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Quality and Safety from UAB and has experience with quality improvement methodologies such as: Lean, Six Sigma, PDSA, and DMAIC. He has also completed the Technical Apprenticeship in Healthcare Simulation offered by the Center for Medical Simulation in Charlestown, Massachusetts. In his current role, Mr. Young manages all operations and activity in the UTHSC Simulation Program.

Nick Brauer, BS, CHSOS
Senior Simulation Specialist
Nick Brauer

Mr. Nick Brauer, BS, CHSOS, graduated with a biology degree from the University of Memphis and has been with the UTHSC since 2000 serving as a Senior Research Coordinator and Simulation Coordinator for Graduate Medical Education before joining the simulation team in 2011.  Mr. Brauer has also served as an Emergency Services Officer for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office since 1999, where he supervises teams on emergency medical and trauma calls throughout the county.

Mr. Brauer will assists in the coordination of operations in the emerging comprehensive simulation program at the UTHSC, serving the needs of all its professional programs. He works with faculty and staff across UTHSC, particularly on the Memphis campus, in securing and facilitating the use of a wide range of simulation technologies to enrich the training of students, residents, and healthcare professionals.

James Orr, NRP, FP-C
Simulation Specialist
James Orr

James Orr, NRP, FP-C recently returned to UTHSC and joined the Simulation Center as a Simulation Specialist. He brings 33 years of prehospital EMS and aeromedical experience to the program. His background in EMS coupled with previous simulation experience provides valuable insight into the application of scenario based simulations.

Previously employed with UTHSC in the prior UT Bowld Hospital ER contributed to 18 years of prior ER experience. James recently retired from the Memphis Fire Dept. after 25 years of service to the citizens of Memphis, TN. His experience also includes 8 years in prehospital aeromedical service as a flight paramedic. The experience gained during his career is incorporated and accentuates the application of scenario based simulations in our program.

Xavier L. Agee, MS, CHSOS
Simulation Specialist
Xavier Agee

Xavier L. Agee, MS, CHSOS joined the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s Simulation Program in the summer of 2018. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology from the University of Southern Mississippi in May of 2012. He also received his Master of Science degree in Instructional Technology from the University of Southern Mississippi in December of 2017. Xavier has the honor of becoming the first person in the state of Mississippi to obtain the Certified Healthcare Simulation Operations Specialist certification.

Mr. Agee comes to the UTHSC from the University of Southern Mississippi College of Nursing where he held the position of Simulation and Instructional Technology Specialist for nearly six years. During his time at USM’s College of Nursing he was influential in the new nursing building’s construction in the area of A/V design in classrooms and simulation areas. He looks forward to broadening his knowledge in the world of healthcare simulation here at the UTHSC Simulation Program, and offering his talents to help provide quality simulation experiences.

Jonathan Spagnoli, BS
Simulation Technologist
Jonathan Spagnoli

Jonathan Spagnoli, BS, started his position as a simulation technologist in June of 2018. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Georgia and moved to Memphis shortly after his graduation to join the CHIPS team. As a part of his degree program, Jonathan had the opportunity to conduct research through the Department of Chemistry to help develop novel nanotechnology-based platforms for the treatment of brain and lung cancers. He is currently co-authored on a review paper discussing the current and upcoming uses of nanotechnology in the field of neuroscience. Through his extended research experience and coursework in Chemistry, Jonathan has had numerous encounters with various technologies. Additionally, his interest in medicine led him to have multiple experiences observing in both primary care and surgery settings. The skills gained from these experiences will help Jonathan implement the simulation center’s various technologies in clinical simulations across disciplines.

Wendy Love, AA
Accounting Specialist II
wendy love

Wendy Love, AA, Tax Practitioner, and VITA, recently join the Simulation Center as an Accounting Specialist. She brings 25 years work experience to the program. After studying federal Taxation, Wendy realized she had a passion for tax preparation, and became a voluntary Income Tax Assistant with IRS to help those needing help with individual tax preparing, and she currently has been preparing taxes for ten years. She’s also studying for Enrolled Agent(EAS) to become a Federal license tax practitioner and complete a Bachelor of Science in Accounting in 2019. Her responsibilities, include Payroll, Reconciliation, purchase Inventory for the CHIPS Department.

Kistal Hamlett, AAS
Administrative Specialist II
kristal lee

Kistal Hamlett, AAS, started her position as the Administrative Specialist II for the CHIPS Simulation Center in September 2018. Her responsibilities include managing Dr. Chad Epps' calendar, assisting with the day-to-day operations of the simulation center, tracking data for the center's records, and event planning. She received her Associate's Degree in Business Management from Brown Mackie College while living in Dallas, TX and is currently enrolled at Western Governor’s University to receive her Bachelor's degree in Human Resource Management in 2019.

Venus L. Claxton, MPA
Program Administrator
Venus Claxton

Ms. Venus L. Claxton, MPA, started her new position as the Program Administrator for Interprofessional Education and Clinical Simulation in March 2012. Her responsibilities include overseeing budgets, managing the day-to-day operations of the office and emerging simulation center, and preparing regular financial reports to ensure key stakeholders are aware of the progress made. She graduated from the University of Memphis with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a Masters’ Degree in Public Administration.

Last Published: Oct 1, 2019