Community and Hartford HealthCare Leaders Cut the Ribbon to Celebrate CESI Expansion

June 15, 2017

Before healthcare providers, surgical techniques and medical devices go to work in the clinical setting, they need to be trained and tested to ensure the highest quality. Very few facilities are capable of offering simulation-based education and training, and only a handful have a reputation as a true center of excellence where providers and corporate clients alike can learn new skills and develop the latest in medical products and practices.

Hartford HealthCare’s Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation at Hartford Hospital (CESI) is one of these outstanding facilities and is growing to meet the needs of healthcare teams and companies around the world.

On June 13, CESI cut the ribbon on a large expansion that includes new tissue labs, simulation rooms and classrooms. These expanded facilities will enable healthcare professionals to hone their skills in a safe, highly sophisticated environment.

“The expansion of CESI is an investment in our future, not just for our hospital and our healthcare system, but for the city and for the State of Connecticut” said Dr. Stuart Markowitz, president of Hartford Hospital and senior vice president of Hartford HealthCare’s Hartford region.

CESI has become a magnet for new investments through partnerships and working relationships with global healthcare companies like Medtronic, Intuitive Surgical, STANLEY Healthcare, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Stryker and more. As a result, CESI has become an economic driver for Hartford and the healthcare industry in Connecticut.

“We have tremendous intellectual capital in this small state, which is something we will need to return to greatness and to a thriving economy,” said Elliot Joseph, chief executive officer of Hartford HealthCare, “CESI is one milestone on the road to economic recovery for the State of Connecticut.”

CESI’s expanded bioskills facility will serve corporate clients from the medical device industry through studies, beta testing, concept evaluation, training support and more.

Commissioner Catherine Smith of Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development noted these capabilities as one of the many reasons CESI is an important economic driver.
“The number of people employed here, the people who come to the facility, using hotel rooms and arriving on airplanes from Dublin and other places—those are all feeding the economic engine of the state. We make investments in institutions like CESI when we see that opportunity to be a real contributor to the economy.”

CESI’s approach, which integrates world-class facilities with Hartford HealthCare’s respected clinicians, has led to many unique partnerships.

“Just two years ago, we were launching our first-ever cancer care partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering, one of the world’s great hospitals,” said Jeffrey Flaks, president and chief operating officer of Hartford HealthCare. “Memorial said they wouldn’t build their own simulation center because they saw CESI and believed in what we were doing. Today, the surgical fellows from Memorial Sloan Kettering are imported to Hartford and get their surgical training from our physicians, in our center.”

“We have created a true destination,” Flaks said, “a center that stands on its own for its excellence and its legitimacy because of the core competencies that we have.”

CESI is unique because it features a team of expert consultants who develop custom training and education solutions for healthcare providers and corporate clients across disciplines.

“Safely and reliably delivering care to a patient, especially when using technology, requires three types of training: how to do specific tasks, how to think in stressful environments and, most importantly, how to communicate and work as a team,” said Dr. Steven Shichman, executive director of CESI, chief of urology at Hartford Hospital and director of the Tallwood Urological & Kidney Institute.

“CESI excels because our team puts together terrific programs that focus on these three areas,” Shichman said. “That’s why CESI is the go-to place in simulation education.”

At CESI, learners can observe and practice advanced surgical techniques in real time and learn from the experience in dedicated simulation rooms. Virtual reality and task-specific trainers help healthcare providers develop important skills to improve the quality of health outcomes.

“What makes this one particularly special is that it’s not just about job growth and it’s not just about creating an innovation ecosystem, but it’s about saving lives,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. “Thank you to everyone whose vision and tireless work made this possible.”

Since its founding, CESI has relied on charitable gifts to realize its vision. Over $3 million has been contributed since CESI was established, in addition to the generous $15 million grant through the State of Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development that made the CESI expansion possible.

In 2009, a generous gift of $1 million from an anonymous donor propelled the growth of CESI, and gifts from numerous other individuals, corporations and foundations have helped build CESI’s extraordinary reputation.
The Hartford Hospital Auxiliary has been an especially stalwart supporter of CESI; equipment made possible through Auxiliiary gifts is found throughout the facility.

CESI is also among the programs and services being advanced through gifts to the Campaign for Hartford Hospital. The ribbon cutting celebration for the CESI expansion also served as an opportunity to recognize Stanley Black & Decker for its generous contribution of $2 million to this campaign. Stanley Black & Decker is among CESI’s corporate partners that are helping realize Hartford HealthCare’s vision as a national leader in innovation, patient safety, outcomes and satisfaction.

Learn more about CESI at