Isle Polonko is the premiere leader of GTA/MUTA education with a long and diverse history in the field. She trained as a GTA in the late 1980’s and was promoted to lead GTA trainer at New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers in 1994 under the direction of the program’s coordinator, Judi Marraccini and the program’s founder, Dr. Gerson Weiss. Taking over as Program Director in 2005, Ms. Polonko dedicated her work to developing Standards of Practice for GTA/MUTA education and developing new and innovative ways to utilize the specialized skills of GTAs and MUTAs in diverse education and certification practices. She is the founder of the GTA/MUTA Special Interest Group at the Association of Standardized Patient Educators (ASPE) and the SIG’s former Chair. Ms. Polonko is also a founding member of IGMA, the International GTA/MUTA Association. Her dedication in founding the organization was fueled by a desire to ensure that those who do the work in the field have an organization to represent them where they can obtain information on gold standards of practice of this highly effective methodology and information on scholarly research for those working and practicing in the field.
Ms. Polonko is a sought-after lecturer in this methodology and presents dozens of workshops and abstracts annually at various conferences and health symposiums worldwide. Additionally, she has assisted in the training of GTAs and the setup of GTA programs internationally, most recently in Brazil as an invited trainer for SOBEF, the Sociedade Brasileira de Enfermagem Forense, and Tiradentes University. Isle Polonko is also a published author. Her work internationally with Dr. Melih Elcin at Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey resulted in an article published © 2016 International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning, Elsevier Inc. and authored by Sarmasoglu, S. et al. She was instrumental in a grassroots movement to employ this methodology in Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner certification training bringing GTA simulation to SANE certification. Ms. Polonko wrote the only GTA Train the Trainer curriculum in the field while tenured at Rutgers and has now, in conjunction with a very gifted and outstanding MUTA Trainer, Richard Claflin, produced the first and only MUTA Train the Trainer curriculum. Isle Polonko is committed to utilizing patient educators to train on thorough, high quality clinical exam procedures and to utilizing the specialized skills of these extraordinary women and men in increasingly creative ways to meet the goals and objectives of teaching safe, comfortable, effective clinical exam procedures designed to empower both patients and providers.
Ms. Polonko would like to thank three phenomenal women; Jose Hasle, the original director and person who brought GTA to NJMS; Judi Marraccini, her personal mentor and a recognized pioneer in this field of education; and Lisa Pompeo, MD, her immediate supervisor at New Jersey Medical School whose support and vision in GTA/MUTA education helped propel the methodology forward.