G Jesse Bender Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Dr. Bender is a neonatologist with more than ten years program development in simulation based medical education.  He serves as Co-chair of Technology and Standards Committee for the International Pediatric Simulation Society, as well as Certified Healthcare Simulation Educator and reviewer with the Society for Simulation in Healthcare.  As founding Co-Director of the Care New England Simulation Program, he transformed a vision of deliberate practice into a vibrant force embedded in our operational culture for patient safety, quality improvement and risk management.   Dr. Bender created TESTPILTOT-NICU (Transportable Enhanced Simulation Technologies for Pre-Implementation Limited Operations Testing) to improve systems readiness and staff preparedness before significant alterations in healthcare delivery paradigms.  He is Principal Investigator for AHRQ funded “Generalizing TESTPILOT” to study such implementations across a spectrum of care delivery structures, simulation experience and magnitudes of culture change.  


Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work

Lechner B, Shields R, Bender J.  Seeking the Best Training Model for Difficult Conversations in Neonatology.  Accepted J Perinatal Medicine June 2015.

Murphy T, Laptook A, Bender J.  Sustained Improvement in Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Safety Culture Following Teamwork Training. Accepted J Patient Safety 2015.

Bender J, Kennally K. Multidisciplinary Interfacility Simulation in the Development of a Nationwide Neonatal Transport Program in Kosovo.  Submitted to Air Medical Journal 2015.

Bender J, Kennally K, Shields R, Overly F.  Does simulation booster impact retention of resuscitation procedural skills and teamwork?  J Perinatol 2014: Apr 24. doi: 10.1038/jp.2014.72.

Koestler D, Ombao H, Bender J. Ensemble-based Methods for Forecasting Census in Hospital Units. BMC Medical Research Methodology 2013, 13:67 doi:10.1186/1471-2288-13-67

Bender J, Kostler D, Ombao H, McCourt M, Alskinis B, Rubin L, Padbury J. Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Predictive Models for Length of Stay. J Perinatology 2012: June 7; doi.10.1038/jp.2012.62.

Lee MO, Brown LL, Bender J, Machan JT, Overly FL. A Medical Simulation-based Educational Intervention for Emergency Medicine Residents in Neonatal Resuscitation Academic Emergency Medicine. Volume 19, Issue 5, pages 577–585, May 2012

Bender J, Shields R, Kennally K. Transportable Enhanced Simulation Technologies for Pre-Implementation Limited Operations Testing In the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit TESTPILOT: NICU. Sim Healthcare 2011 Aug:6(4):204-212.

Bender J, In-Situ Simulation for Systems Testing in Newly Constructed Perinatal Facilities. Semin Perinatol. 2011 Apr;35(2):80-3.

Bender J, Shields R, Kennally K. Testing With Simulation Before a Big Move at Women & Infants Hospital. Rhode Island Medical Society. 2010 May; 93 (5): 145-150.

Oh W, Stevenson DK, Tyson JE, Morris BH, Ahlfors CE, Bender GJ, et al. Influence of clinical status on the association between plasma total and unbound bilirubin and death or adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in extremely low birth weight infants. Acta Paediatr. 2010 May;99(5):673-8.

Ahlfors CE, Vreman HJ, Wong RJ, Bender GJ, Oh W, Morris BH, Stevenson DK. Effects of sample dilution, peroxidase concentration, and chloride ion on the measurement of unbound bilirubin in premature newborns. Clin Biochem. 2007 Feb;40(3-4):261-7.

Bender GJ, Cashore WJ, Oh W. Ontogeny of bilirubin-binding capacity and the effect of clinical status in premature infants born at less than 1300 grams. Pediatrics 2007;120:1067–1073.

research overview

Clinical simulation enables deliberate practice, helping healthcare professionals perform at their peak. Our work promotes clinical excellence through process refinement, skills acquisition and mastery. Immersive simulation draws participants through realistic scenarios towards specific algorithm, behavioral, and teamwork learning objectives. We offer a safe learning environment in which to practice techniques and advance patient safety.  The Program supports a wide range of educational and culture defining projects, from Davinci robotic training to Best Fed Beginnings, NRP guideline changes (94% of 774 staff in six weeks) and MedTeams teamwork training (96% of 350 NICU staff).  He offers faculty development workshops on Debriefing and Neonatal Difficult Conversations.  Most recently, his transport and code leadership workshops have integrated into an intensive two-day Neonatal Fellows Boot Camp.

research statement

Simulation has become our standard for systems testing as well.  Our learning curve was motivated by a looming transition to single family room NICU in 2009, with concerns that our most fragile neonates could have profound desaturation and bradycardia events, undetected.  We were unsure how our care paradigm would translate into the new environment, where exiting workarounds may crack, and whether our highly reliable systems would falter.   So we tested it.   We simulated a NICU.  Adapting work from the RIH Emergency Department, TESTPILTOT-NICU (Transportable Enhanced Simulation Technologies for Pre-Implementation Limited Operations Testing) was a huge creation.  We amassed momentum to design, staff, orchestrate and analyze a functional NICU before moving in.  Numerous latent safety threats were discovered and resolved, improving the quality of care quality at transition.  The unknown became manageable.  Now, whenever significant process or environment redesigns are considered, simulation is the answer.  Protocols for massive transfusion, infant abduction, disaster planning and safe patient handling were refined with simulation, as were mock room assessments in ACU, triage and LDR.  When recruited for a USAID project to improve maternal and neonatal outcomes in Kosovo, we implemented multidisciplinary interfacility simulations to develop a nationwide Neonatal Transport Service. 

Many institutions are now utilizing simulation prior to transitioning into new healthcare environments.   Dr. Bender has supported six institutions’ TESTPILOT-NICU implementations.  Each site has found the methodology learnable, even with limited prior simulation experience.  In retrospect, they lauded this extensive investment in preparation as necessary to achieve their safety goals at transition.   Dr. Bender is now PI on AHRQ “Generalizing TESTPILOT” studying the improvement in systems readiness and staff preparedness across a spectrum of care delivery structures, simulation experience and magnitudes of culture change.  Over the next twelve TESTPILOT implementations, his team will assess saturation of novel latent safety threats, developing a blueprint for similar transitions.

funded research



AHRQ R18 HS 023460-01 "Generalizing TESTPILOT"