Salam Daher defended her PhD in Modeling and Simulation on Oct 25, 2018.


DATE and TIME: OCTOBER 25, 2018 at 1:00PM


MAJOR: Modeling and Simulation



In lieu of real patients, healthcare educators frequently use simulated patients. Simulated patients can be realized in physical form, such as mannequins and trained human actors, or virtual form, such as via computer graphics presented on two-dimensional screens or head-mounted displays. Each of these alone has its strengths and weaknesses. I introduce a new class of physical-virtual patient (PVP) simulators that combine strengths of both forms by combining the flexibility and richness of virtual patients with tangible characteristics of a human-shaped physical form that can also exhibit a range of multi-sensory cues, including visual cues (e.g., capillary refill and facial expressions), auditory cues (e.g., verbal responses and heart sounds), and tactile cues (e.g., localized temperature and pulse). This novel combination of integrated capabilities can improve patient simulation outcomes.

In my Ph.D. work I focus on three primary areas of related research. First, I describe the realization of the technology for PVPs and results from two user-studies to evaluate the importance of dynamic visuals and human-shaped physical form in terms of perception, behavior, cognition, emotions, and learning. Second, I present a general method to numerically evaluate the compatibility of any simulator-scenario pair in terms of importance and fidelity of cues. This method has the potential to make logistical, economic, and educational impacts on the choices of utilizing existing simulators. Finally, I describe a method for increasing human perception of simulated humans by exposing participants to the simulated human taking part in a short, engaging conversation prior to the simulation.


The Physical-Virtual Patient (PVP) is a new type of patient simulators that addresses the current difficulty of representing subtle integrated multi-sensory interactive patient signs and symptoms to train healthcare providers. A better training of healthcare providers can improve patient outcomes. The PVP allows for simulating other simulators to explore the importance of different ways to present certain cues to know which aspects of representing symptoms matter and which ones do not. This can influence decisions for development and investment in simulators. I present a general method to objectively evaluate the scenario-simulator match and corresponding simulator utilization. This is relevant for a simulation center to justify investment in certain simulators, and it may help in scheduling logistics to optimize educational objectives and existing resources. Regardless of the simulator and prior to the simulation, a short exposure to an engaging conversation improves the outcomes.


2018-2019 Postdoc, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
2013-2018 Ph.D., University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
2013-2015 M.S. University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
2007-2012 Multimedia Software Developer, Vcom3D, Orlando, FL
2004-2006 M.S., University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
2000-2004 B.S., Lebanese American University, Byblos, LEBANON

2018 NCWIT Scholarship (awarded to 4 STEM students from 91 U.S. Universities)
2017-2018 RADM Fred Lewis I/ITSEC Scholarship (awarded to 3 PhD students)
2017 IEEE VR 2017 Doctoral Consortium (awarded to 12 PhD students internationally)
2015-2016 Link Fellowship for Modeling, Simulation and Training (awarded to 4 PhD students)
2013-2015 UCF Modeling and Simulation Scholarship (for 3 consecutive years)