Need for a GTA MUTA Organization Specific to Professionals in the Field

Clinical Skills exam room

IGMA, the International GTA MUTA Association is a new organization in the field of simulation. The Association of Standardized Patient Educators, ASPE, is an organization dedicated to live patient simulation. The Society of Simulation in Healthcare, SSH, is an organization that supports the advancement of simulation in health care with a focus on the technology side of simulation. AMEE, the Association for Medical Education in Europe is an international organization of which simulation is a part of the focus to promote excellence in education internationally. ASPiH, The Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare, is yet another prestigious organization dedicated to simulation.  And there are others.  What is missing from this legion of simulation organizations is an association designed specifically to address GTA MUTA methodology.

Why is it critical for professionals in the field of GTA MUTA programming have their own organization? To answer that we need to look at what GTAs and MUTAs are not. GTAs and MUTAs are not machines, they are living, breathing educators, so while they engage in simulation, they are not quite within the scope and practice of current simulation associations. GTAs and MUTAs are not ONLY standardized patients. In fact, they are only standardized patients in that they present a standardized curriculum to learners and, in some circumstances, such as participation in breast and pelvic stations at OSCEs, can act exclusively in the role of Standardized Patient (SP) when interacting with learners.

However, GTAs and MUTAs are much more than Standardized Patients, they are live patient educators. They are Teaching Associates. They TEACH invasive exam clinical skills techniques to learners using their bodies as primary teaching tools in the instruction of urogenital examination skills. A primary focus is to reduce learner anxiety so that technique acquisition occurs in an environment where learners feel safe to ask questions and practice techniques under the gentle guidance of the instructor in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere.  GTAs and MUTAs work exclusively in patient empowerment models promoting patient centered care. The level of training and skill required to be a GTA or MUTA is extensive, ensuring they are comfortable with and know their bodies extremely well, know what has to be taught to the learners and know what they must teach their learners to teach future patients, fully immersed in a three-tiered learning methodology that goes far beyond the scope of a standardized patient.

For the past decade, ASPE has provided a home for professionals in the field of GTA MUTA programing to network in the form of the GTA MUTA Special Interest Group. While the GTA MUTA SIG was a great start and has kept communication going between GTA MUTA professionals all these years, (and IGMA encourages participation in the GTA MUTA SIG via ASPE membership) it cannot progress to include Standards of Best Practices in the field or Accreditation/Certification opportunities for institutions with active GTA MUTA programs at their sites. These are things that IGMA hopes to provide to membership one day in the near future. It is imperative that professionals in the field have a simulation organization exclusive to this particular method of live patient simulation and that time is now.

If you would like to be a member of IGMA, founding membership in the organization is available. Visit the IGMA website for more information or contact the IGMA founders at We hope you will join us as a founding member of IGMA.  The time is now.  GTA MUTA methodology is entering into specialty fields and it is critical that professionals in the field participate in the expansion of this type of education as it gains momentum both here and abroad.