ASPE is the international organization of educators dedicated to human simulation through:
- Promoting best practices in the application of SP methodology for education, assessment and research
- Fostering the dissemination of research and scholarship in the field of SP methodology
- Advancing the professional knowledge and skills of its members and affiliates
- Transforming professional performance through the power of human interaction.
In 1963 a neurologist by the name of Howard Barrows discovered that a lay person could be trained to simulate illness and give feedback to medical students about their history and communication skills. He called this person a simulated patient and defined it as “a person who has been carefully coached to simulate an actual patient so accurately that the simulation cannot be detected by a skilled clinician. In performing the simulation, the SP presents the gestalt of the patient being simulated; not just the history, but the body language, the physical findings, and the emotional and personality characteristics as well.” Gradually, the use of the simulated patient began to grow in medical education. Educators found that simulated patients offered not only a variety of teaching opportunities for students, but also opportunities for testing student performance. Out of this testing environment grew the term “standardized patient” or “SP.”