News » Karen Lewis, PhD, Named 2017 ASPE Outstanding Educator of the Year

Karen Lewis, PhD, Named 2017 ASPE Outstanding Educator of the Year

Karen LewisAt its 16th Annual Conference in June 2017, the Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) presented Karen Lewis, PhD, with the Outstanding Educator of the Year Award. Lewis serves as the director of administration of the Standardized Patient Program and the Clinical Learning and Simulation Skills (CLASS) Center at the George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS).

“I didn’t know I was nominated,” Lewis said. “The speaker started talking about my background and I thought it sounded like someone else! It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized by my peers.”

ASPE puts out its request for nominees a few months ahead of the annual conference. The awardee is then chosen by a committee of former recipients selected by the ASPE president.

Past recipients of the award have been involved in human simulation education, have made significant contributions to the field of standardized patient education, and have been recognized as leaders of their institutions, communities, and in national and international organizations.

Lewis has had nearly two decades of experience in medical education. At SMHS, she oversees curriculum and training activities at the CLASS Center, which provides students with the opportunity to supplement their classroom education with comprehensive clinical exposure, feedback, and evaluation through simulation. Lewis is also one of the facilitators for the Teaching and Learning Knowledge and Skills course, which trains senior medical students to be educators.

“I’m very fortunate to work at GW. We do so many simulation activities here, and our faculty are so involved and supportive,” Lewis said of her CLASS Center experience. “This kind of experience has enabled me to learn more about the simulation field and made me a better educator.”

Lewis has been a part of ASPE since the organization formed in 1998. She has remained active, spending three years as chair for the publications and website committee, serving as editor-in-chief of the ASPE newsletter, presenting at numerous conferences as a representative of ASPE, and serving a two-year term as president through 2014–2015.

As president, Lewis guided the development of the organizations standards of best practice, which were recently published. “The publication is a landmark event for standardized patient educator field,” said Lewis. She also began a partnership between ASPE and an organization in China, which endeavors to standardized patient programs in China, since educators have recently begun work with simulation. She continues to manage this team and is working on developing the curriculum for the program.

To learn more about the ASPE standards of best practice, visit To read more about ASPE Outstanding Educators Awards, visit awards.