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Center for Innovative Learning

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Faculty & Staff

Amar P. Patel, DHSc, MS, NRP

Amar Patel is the Director of the Center for Innovative Learning at WakeMed Health & Hospitals.  Dr. Patel is responsible for integrating technology based educational programs to include human patient simulation, healthcare gaming, and hybrid education into regional educational programs.  As a member of the Center for Patient Safety, Amar strives daily to make changes to processes in healthcare that will directly improve patient and provider safety.

Prior to this position, he served as an Advanced Life Support Program Instructor and the Project Manager of Medical Simulation for the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute at the University of Maryland, College Park. In this role he was responsible for developing new curriculum, as well as integrating medical simulation into all of the Advanced Life Support (ALS) Programs. He was the lead developer of simulation scenarios and technical simulation expert at the local and state level.  Dr. Patel has taught numerous instructor courses, including ones offered on an international circuit. He has presented at several conferences, including JEMS EMS Today, the Human Patient Simulation Conference, and the Air Medical Transport Conference.

While educating EMS providers all over the state, Dr. Patel also maintained clinical competency with the Baltimore County Fire Department in Baltimore, Maryland as a national registered paramedic, haz-mat technician and a firefighter.  Currently, Amar maintains over 17 certifications to include a HAM radio operator's license and a certified flight communicator.

Dr. Patel is currently involved in simulation based research projects that focus on integration and implementation of simulation and how process changes effect the healthcare delivery model. He has contributed to numerous simulation articles on education return on investment, administration, sustainability, just-in-time training, and simulation center design.

Dr. Patel holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in computer music from Goucher College, a Master's of Science in Emergency Health Services Education from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and a doctorate in health sciences from Nova Southeastern University.

Graham Snyder, MD
Medical Director

Dr. Snyder serves as the Medical Director for the Center for Innovative Learning, providing physician oversight and clinical leadership for the SIM Center. 

He specializes in emergency and critical care medicine and has practiced full-time as an emergency physician at WakeMed Health & Hospitals since 2002.  Dr. Snyder also serves as the Associate Program Director for the University Of North Carolina Department Of Emergency Medicine.

He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and also holds an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from North Carolina State University. 

As the medical director of the Center for Innovative Learning, he is able to combine his engineering and medical training to teach all levels of health care providers the art and science of emergency care. 

Brendan C. Berry, MD, FACEP, EMT-A
Assistant Medical Director of Emergency Medical Services & Critical Care Transport

Dr. Berry is a residency-trained, board-certified emergency physician and a Fellow of the American Board of Emergency Physicians. He has been practicing in the WakeMed system since 2001.

He earned his undergraduate degree in physics at Princeton University, and pursued graduate work in both biochemistry and materials science before attending medical school at the University of Maryland. During medical school, he volunteered as an EMT with the Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad in Wheaton, Maryland and trained to become an instrument-rated private pilot flying out of Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

He trained in emergency medicine at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, where he worked as chief resident before settling in Raleigh. Here he continues to be an enthusiastic educator and holds an academic appointment as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine through the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

Combining his passions for EMS and aviation, he serves as medical director for WakeMed Mobile Critical Care Services, where he has been working to enhance medical control, continuing education, and performance improvement since 2009. He is a member of both the Wake County EMS Peer Review Committee and the North Carolina College of Emergency Physicians EMS Committee, and his research interests include the application of air medical services in the regional reduction of time to direct PCI in STEMI and the utilization of emerging technologies in the practice of out-of-hospital medicine.

As assistant medical director for the WakeMed Center for Innovative Learning, he integrates his basic science background with his EMS experience and his interest in education to expand and develop the active knowledge base of out-of-hospital medical providers throughout the region.

Courtney H. Mann, MD
Assistant Medical Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine

Dr. Mann serves as the Assistant Medical Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine for the Center for Innovative Learning, providing physician oversight and clinical leadership for pediatric emergency medicine activities in the SIM Center.

She specializes in emergency medicine and pediatric emergency medicine and has practiced full-time as an emergency physician at WakeMed Health & Hospitals since 2001.  Dr. Mann also served as Medical Director of WakeMed Health and Hospitals' Children's Emergency Department from 2004-2011.  She currently serves as Clinical Associate Professor and Program Director for the Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship Program at the University Of North Carolina Department at Chapel Hill.

She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and finished a residency in Emergency Medicine at the University of Cincinnati.  She also completed a Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. 

As the assistant medical director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine of the Center for Innovative Learning, she is able to contribute both her teaching experience and depth of knowledge to the program.

Tara Bastek, MD, MPH
Assistant Medical Director of Neonatalogy

Dr. Tara Bastek is a board-certified pediatrician and neonatologist who joined WakeMed Physician Practices - Neonatology in 2004. 

She received her medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Va., and completed her internship and residency at the University of North Carolina Hospitals.  She then went on to complete her fellowship in Newborn Medicine/Neonatology at Boston Children's Hospital through Harvard Medical School.  While working on her fellowship research project, she earned her master's degreee in Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health and completed a fellowship in medical ethics at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Bastek is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, and the Kennedy Institute of Ethics.  She has served as Chair of the WakeMed Ethics Committee since 2008 and enjoys continuing ethical discourse within a large insitution.  Additionally she serves as an Associate Director (Neonatology) of the Center for Innovative Learning and sits on its Steering Committee.

Christine O'Neill, BSN, RN
Simulation Education Specialist

Christine assists in development of internal simulation programming.  She is responsible for providing simulation-based education to all customers external to the health system.  Her responsibilities also include developing simulation programs, creating educational objectives, developing scenarios, ensuring simulation provides a safe learning environment and implementing all appropriate aspects of technology in to an educational program.

She brings more than 20 years of clinical nursing experience in the fields of emergency and intensive care medicine.  At WakeMed, she has worked as a nurse in thePediatric Intensive Care Unit and the Children's Emergency Department. Her vast pediatric experience also includes pediatric transport while working at Georgetown University Hospital.

Christine maintains her certifications as an ACLS, PALS, BLS, and PHTLS Instructor, as well as a TNCC provider.  She received her ADN in NY and her BSN from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro.

David Crosby, BSN, RN, EMT
Simulation Education Specialist

David comes to us with more than 15 years of nursing and 20 years of management experience. His clinical background includes telemetry, surgical intermediate, medical and surgical intensive care as well as both air and ground-based critical care transport. His management background includes serving as the Director of an Intensive and Progressive Care unit, as well as a Supervisor /Educator and Operations Manager for WakeMed’s Mobile Critical Care Services.

David received his AAS/ADN from Pitt Community College and his BSN from Chamberlain College of Nursing. David is an ACLS, BLS and PALS instructor, PHTLS provider and credentialed as an EMT-B. He is active as a Medical Response Team Leader and as a member of the North Carolina State Medical Assistance Team (SMAT-II).

Cindy Rice, BSN, RN-BC, CPN
Simulation Education Specialist

Cindy has been a pediatric nurse for over 15 year, a nurse educator for more than 5 years, and a supervisor/educator for 5 years.   Her clinical experience includes pediatrics, PICU, and pediatric critical care transport.  She is a certified pediatric nurse and has completed her certification in nursing professional development.  Cindy received her BSN from UNC Chapel Hill and was a previous Amercan Heart Assocation (AHA) Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) director, and is currently a WakeMed PALS Training Center Faculty member.  She is also an AHA Basic Life Support instructor and an Advanced Cardiac Life Support Provider. 


Eric Christensen, MBA, NREMT-P
Regional Simulation Coordinator

Eric Christensen is a Regional Simulation Coordinator for the Center for Innovative Learning at WakeMed Health & Hospitals.  Mr. Christensen is responsible for building relationships locally, regionally, and nationally with hospitals, educational programs, private companies, and EMS agencies.  He assist in fostering program growth through the completion of a needs analysis, marketing, and coordination of educational delivery utilizing our Mobile Simulation Program.

Mr. Christensen has more than 18 years of clinical experience as a pre-hospital provider and has functioned in the roles of Training Officer, Critical Care Paramedic, and Flight Paramedic. He also has more than five years experience in high fidelity simulation with a direct focus on mobile simulation and 10 years in education.

Mr. Christensen holds an Associate's degree in Para-medicine from Brigham Young University, a Bachelors and Masters degree in Business Administration from Colorado Technical University.


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