Our Team

Our SIMPeds Team comes from leading industries including healthcare, biotech, engineering, education, and customer service and share an intense focus on quality and service among 5 major areas including: Operations, Education and Research, Technical Simulation Delivery and Engineering.



Peter Weinstock, MD, PhD

SIMPeds Executive Director

Anesthesia Chair in Pediatric Simulation Senior Associate in Critical Care Medicine Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Peter Weinstock is a practicing pediatric intensive care unit physician at Boston Children’s Hospital where he serves as Senior Associate in Critical Care Medicine, Associate Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, Chair of Pediatric Simulation and Executive Director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Simulator Program (SIMPeds).

Dr. Weinstock’s work develops training methods and immersive technologies to inextricably link highly realistic practice and preparedness directly to the delivery of high quality, safe care to improve the lives of infants, children and their families. His approach is keenly connected to emotionality and behavioral psychology to understand and optimize human-human and human-technology interactions and relationships. Dr. Weinstock has weaved immersive training/simulation ecosystems into the fabric of medical centers and regional health care systems on 6 continents and is founding president of the International Pediatric Simulation Society (IPSS). He also serves on multiple advisory boards including education, simulation, social robotics and AI, and lectures internationally including TED on preparing world-class clinicians and healthcare enterprises, as well as reducing fear and anxiety in patients and families throughout the healthcare journey.

Dr. Weinstock received his MD from Cornell Medical School, PhD from Rockefeller University in molecular and cell biology, followed by training in plastic and general surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and general pediatrics and critical care medicine at the Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

“The ‘game changer’ of simulation lies in its ability to preview, rehearse and ultimately to overcome the ‘unknown’ – thus replacing fear and anxiety, with calm confidence, great experiences and outstanding outcomes in healthcare.”


Catherine K. Allan, MD

SIMPeds Associate Program Director, Boston Children’s Hospital Simulator Program

Staff Physician in Cardiology, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Allan completed her medical degree and pediatric residency at University of California, San Francisco followed by fellowship in Pediatric Cardiology and advanced fellowship in Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is a graduate of the Harvard Macy Program for Educators in the Health Professions and an active member of The Boston Children’s Hospital Teaching Academy as well as the International Pediatric Simulation Society. With over a decade of experience in pediatric simulation, Dr. Allan has grown a career beginning with the helping found team training in cardiac intensive care to now a hospital-wide impact as SIMPeds Associate Program Director. In addition to helping oversee the program as a whole, Dr. Allan serves as clinical lead of SIMPeds Faculty and Curriculum Development programs as well as supports our SIMTest division developing SIM-based environmental safety testing throughout the Hospital.  She has extensive experience teaching Simulation Instructor Training Courses on a local, national, and international level, has served as an international invited lecturer on Simulation and Patient Safety meetings, and has lead international workshops on ECMO Simulation.


Sanjay Prabhu, MBBS, DCH, MRCPCH, FRCR

Co-Director, BCH SIMPeds3D Print Service

Director of the Advanced Image Analysis Lab at Children’s Hospital, Department of Radiology, and Assistant Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School

Dr. Prabhu completed his radiology training in the United Kingdom in 2005 followed by fellowships in Pediatric Radiology in Melbourne, Australia and subspecialty fellowships in Pediatric Neuroradiology and Cardiac Imaging at Boston Children’s Hospital, including focus on epilepsy imaging, functional MRI, fetal neuroimaging, MR spectroscopy and pediatric cardiac imaging. Dr. Prabhu brings wide expertise in 3D modeling on multiple FDA approved commercial and open source software platforms.


Alyson Cooper, MPH

Director, Operations 

Alyson brings extensive experience in improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery to the SIMPeds team. Her perspective on healthcare is robust, having worked in both local and federal government healthcare programs as well as within other programs at Boston Children’s Hospital. While at the hospital, Alyson has led cross-functional, continuous learning efforts to improve outcomes and value. Alyson holds a Masters of Public Health with a concentration in Health Management from Boston University. She also earned a BS in Health Sciences along with a BA in Economics from Wake Forest University.




Gabriel Arato, MBA

Program Manager, Strategy and Business Development

At SIMPeds, Gabe cultivates partnerships both within Boston Children’s Hospital and externally to advance simulation science, helping to create new avenues for clinicians to refine their skills and improve care for patients. His extensive experience in healthcare spans over a decade working in both provider and payor institutions developing organizational strategies, redesigning processes, and enhancing patient experiences using Lean Six Sigma and Human-Centered Design principles. Gabe has led collaborative efforts across the continuum of care to improve provider data accuracy, ensure claim payment integrity, and eliminate surprise billing in emergent care scenarios. He has also worked in non-profit as a community organizer developing new programs targeting hunger, childhood and young adult education, and economic justice. Gabe holds a Masters of Business Administration in Health Care from Simmons University.


Michelle Slahor

Program Coordinator II

Michelle graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and brings several years of medical administrative work with her to SIMPeds. She supports administrative aspects of the program, including course coordination, scheduling and logistics. She facilitates and tracks program usage among multiple divisions and departments to ensure all courses “lift off”, “fly” and “land” safely, effectively, and efficiently.




Education and Research

Donna Luff, PhD

Director of Curriculum Design & Quality

Donna Luff, PhD, has more than 20 years of experience in curricular and educational leadership, health services research, simulation-based program development, and evaluation, in both the US and the UK. She brings particular expertise in inter-professional teamwork, communication and online simulation.

Prior to joining the Simulator Program, Donna led the development of online simulation courses that have attracted users from 30 + US states and 20 + other countries.  She held leadership roles at Boston Children’s Hospital Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice and the Harvard-wide Pediatric Health Services Research Fellowship Program. Donna also serves as a Senior Member of Boston Children’s Hospital Academy for Teaching and Educational Innovation and Scholarship, invited faculty member of the American Society of Hematology Medical Education Institute (ASH-MEI), and teaches within the HMS Masters in Medical Education.

Prior to moving to the US, Dr. Luff was the inaugural Course Director for an innovative undergraduate program in health and human sciences, the first of its kind in the country, at the University of Sheffield and Course Director for the Master’s Program in Health Services Research and Technology Assessment also at Sheffield. Donna began her career as health promotion practitioner within the British National Health Service (NHS).

She received a B.A. in American Studies from the University of Manchester, UK, and was awarded a national Health Education Authority scholarship for postgraduate study in Health Education at the University of the West of England. She holds a PhD in Sociological Studies from the University of Sheffield UK.

Matthew Taylor, RN

Curriculum Development Manager

Since joining Boston Children’s Hospital as a clinical assistant in 2003, Matthew has worked throughout the institution in a number of capacities. He began his nursing career at BCH on a general surgical floor and transitioned to the Medical Surgical

Intensive Care Unit, where he works on a per diem basis. His clinical experience outside of BCH includes psychiatric nursing, hospice care and long-term rehabilitation. Away from the bedside, Matthew spent time as an Informatics Nursing Specialist on the Clinical Education and Informatics team before joining the Information Services Department as an Application Specialist.

Matthew’s education includes an Associate of Science in Nursing from Bunker Hill Community College and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from San Francisco State University. Prior to his career in Healthcare, Matthew was an Online Editor at the San Francisco Examiner and a night beat reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle.



Brianna J O’Connell, MS, CCLS

connell_Brianna231X300Senior Curriculum Development Specialist

Brianna brings over 15 years of experience working with children, and their families, to support positive coping skills and healthy development through preparation, education and play. Since starting at BCH in 2007, Brianna has worked in various locations including Hematology/Oncology, Clinical and Translational Science Unit and most recently the Medical Surgical Intensive Care Unit (MSICU). In addition to her role supporting patient and family coping, Brianna has provided leadership, education and training on child development and coping to staff and students throughout the hospital and area colleges. Brianna’s education experience also includes 5 years as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, responsible for therapeutic programming as well as staff training and education.

Brianna holds a Bachelor of Science in Recreational Therapy and a Master of Science in Child Life and Family Centered Care.

Working with her SIMPeds colleagues and partners from throughout the BCH community, Brianna uses her unique expertise and experience to lead our efforts in Preparing You: Simulation for Patients, Families and Caregivers Phone: 617-919-1710 and Email: Brianna.OConnell@childrens.harvard.edu





Marlena Smith-Millman, MPH

Research & Evaluation Specialist 

Marlena holds a Masters of Public Health with a concentration in Health Policy and Management from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelors in Sociology from Harvard University. Marlena brings to the SIMPeds team her experience in program planning, development, implementation, and evaluation; stakeholder engagement; partnership development and maintenance; and capacity development, as well as her passion for thoughtfully constructing systems informed by data and local expertise in order to improve and sustain child, family, and community health and well-being.

As Research and Evaluation Specialist, Marlena coordinates, systematizes, and brings a rigorous research and evaluation lens to simulation efforts undertaken by SIMPeds and its clinical partners and collaborators across the hospital and community. She also coordinates research and QA/QI endeavors within the Simulator Program, from internal improvement efforts to large scale grants.





Stephen Flynn, MD


Dr. Stephen Flynn is a practicing pediatric anesthesiologist and a fellow in our SIMPeds program. He completed his medical degree at Brown University and post-graduate training in Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, and Pediatric Anesthesiology at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He is board certified in the aforementioned disciplines. Prior to SIMPeds, Dr. Flynn helped develop a multifaceted pediatric anesthesia curriculum at the University of Virginia. He has also completed instructor classes in debriefing at UVA and The Harvard Center for Medical Simulation.

Dr. Flynn is interested in innovative ways to utilize simulation to engage anesthesia trainees and improve their skills, situational awareness, and ability to navigate crisis in a systematic and confident fashion. He is excited to help coach the next generation into becoming OR leaders and excellent anesthesia consultants.



SIMEngineering: Development

Stephen Wilson, BSME


Director, Development Engineering

Stephen brings over 25 years of experience in medical device research & development and a demonstrated passion for creating new solutions to advance medical care. He is responsible for multiple innovative medical product designs that received patent recognition and went on to achieve notable commercial success. Stephen’s experience includes leading large device development programs and the multinational cross-functional teams necessary to develop and establish production of medical devices for worldwide launch. In addition, he has led and managed R&D Engineering teams responsible for sustaining engineering and new product development of vascular access, neurosurgical, neurotrauma, orthopedic hip, spine, and trauma product portfolios.

As Director of the SIMPeds Development Engineering Team, located in the Longwood Center at 360 Longwood Avenue, Stephen and his team collaborate with clinician partners to provide a unique array of services, including:

*Development of lifelike devices and surgical trainers to enhance simulation based clinician training & education

*Complex transformation of imaging (CT, MR, Ultrasound, etc.) into patient-specific digital and 3D printed models for diagnosis, treatment and pre-operative planning

*Design and fabrication of novel device solutions to improve pediatric healthcare using our in0house “Makerspace” resources

*Creation of immersive technology (Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, 360 video) training and patient care solutions with our internal experts and industry partners

Education: Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute.



Jeffrey Jacobson, PhD

XR Project Manager, SIMPeds3D Print/SIM Engineering

Jeffrey brings over 25 years of experience in research, engineering, and applications of virtual and mixed reality technology. With a doctorate in Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh, Jeff is a cognitive engineer, a specialist on how people process information, especially for learning with immersive media (VR, AR, XR, etc.)  He was one of the first researchers to use game technology for VR, conduct empirical studies of learning in VR, and use AR in museums and educational theater. He consulted for years into several industries, especially education, architecture, construction, transportation, and medicine. He is a longtime co-organizer of the BostonVR meetup group (world’s 7th largest), which has accelerated adoption of immersive technologies in Boston. Today, he is a Simulation Engineering Project Manager at SIMPeds, where he prototypes new training tools, oversees production of (XR) solutions we will deploy to the simulation center, and indispensably contributes to our scholarly investigations of XR for medical training and treatment.



Katie Livingston, ME

Simulation Development Engineer II

Katie brings astounding talent in moulage and art combined with formal training in Biomedical engineering to create >50 incredibly realistic trainers for SIMPeds and helps drive our SIMPeds3D Team. Katie also delivers internationally, producing complex simulation productions independent of venue — ranging from hotel ballrooms to international simulation centers. Areas of Expertise: Delivering on-site and in-situ high fidelity simulations, 3D CAD design for trainer development, 3D patient models for pre-surgical planning Education/Certification: Masters in Biomedical Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute



Mariah Geritano, MS


Simulation Development Engineer II

Mariah graduated from Stony Brook University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and a Master’s Degree in Materials Science and Engineering. Prior to joining SIMPeds, her research focused on material properties for environmentally conscious 3D printing, and development of 3D printed scaffolds for stem cell differentiation. As a SIM Engineer, Mariah 3D Prints patient-specific anatomy models for pre-surgical models. In addition, she designs and fabricates medical trainers used in simulation courses.

Areas of Expertise: 3D patient models for pre-surgical planning, 3D CAD design for trainer development and materials. Education/Certification: Master of Science in Materials Science and Engineering, Stony Brook University, Bachelor of Science in Biology, Stony Brook University





Mike Silver

Simulation Development Engineer II

Mike brings a varied skillset to the SIMPeds Engineering team as a result of his mixed background in anatomy, virtual surgical planning, product design, medical illustration, and fine art. He has a passion for utilizing digital modeling, 3D printing, and fabrication as they relate to anatomy and medicine and enjoys incorporating the latest software and technology into project workflows. Prior to joining SIMPeds, he gained experience in designing 3D printed models and guides for virtually planned surgeries at 3D Systems. He is also a graduate of the Medical and Biological Illustration program at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he had the opportunity to create a variety of medical and surgical illustrations, models, prostheses, and animations. As a simulation development engineer, he now uses these skills in the design and development of surgical and other medical simulation trainers and devices in collaboration with the clinicians at BCH.

Areas of Expertise: Digital modeling, medical illustration, anatomy, sculpting

Education/Certification: Masters of Art in Medical and Biological Illustration, Johns Hopkins SOM, Bachelors in Biology, Tufts University, Certified Medical Illustrator



SIMEngineering: Production

Kaitlyn Nogueira

Simulation Engineer Manager, Technical Operations

In addition to crafting and leading our most complex simulations, Kaitlyn brings years of experience in health care device testing to lead our Tech Operations focused on maintaining high quality assurance for all technical aspects of SIMPeds — including oversight of 100s of mannequins, A/V equipment and materials, as well as all off-site productions and installations, and our diverse SIM Facilities. Kailtyn works closely with our vendors to insure the best resources are available to the SIMPeds community. Areas of Expertise: Delivering on-site and in-situ high fidelity simulation; Technical operations and quality improvement: SIM facility design & development Education/Certification: B.S. Biomedical Engineering, Quality Assurance in the medical device field Phone: 617.919.3525 Email: Kaitlyn.Nogueira@childrens.harvard.edu



Meagan Garafalo, MS

portraitSimulation Production Engineer II

Meagan earned her Master’s degree in Bioengineering at Syracuse University, where she was passionate about understanding complex diseases and how to treat them. Prior to joining SIMPeds, she spent several years in the healthcare field as a project manager for Epic, a healthcare software company. There, she worked with hospitals to help guide clinicians through a successful software implementation, and specifically managed oncology, long-term care, and clinical research. Meagan’s experience at Epic helped her better understand the connection between healthcare and technology, and she developed a great interest in how research and patient care can be improved with growing technologies. This passion steered Meagan toward SIMPeds, where she is focusing on delivering high fidelity simulation.



Erin McNeill

Simulation Production Engineer I

Erin graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering and a focus on medical device development and diagnostics. Her past experience in clinical settings has involved medical product analysis through her work at Abbott, as well as several summers spent volunteering on post-operative and general wards at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Her work in technical theatre also helped steer Erin towards simulation engineering. Erin brings her technical and clinical knowledge to work with her here at SIMPeds, as well as her passion for learning to deliver high fidelity simulation. Erin’s areas of expertise include product design and development, various programming platforms (MATLAB, R, Python), rapid prototyping/ 3D printing, and troubleshooting.​




Kara Brown

Simulation Production Engineer I

Kara graduated from Union College with a Bachelor’s Degree in BioMedical Engineering. For two summers, she interned at The STRATUS Center for Medical Simulation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. The experience and knowledge she gained contribute to her passion for delivering high fidelity simulations, which she now brings to Boston Children’s Hospital Simulator Program. In this experience, Kara hopes to aid in the quality improvement of patient care and clinician preparedness.





Saja Traoui

Simulation Production Engineer I

Saja graduated from Worcester State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Psychobiology. She comes with valuable experience in medical simulation gained through her work as a Medical Simulation Operation’s Specialist at The STRATUS Center for Medical Simulation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. There, she specialized in curriculum development and course design, model building, high fidelity simulation production, CVL placement assessing, troubleshooting, and much more. Now at SIMPeds, she brings a passion for improving the quality of care through the practice of technical and non-technical skills in a psychologically safe environment.



Rebecca Williams

Simulation Production Engineer I

Rebecca graduated from Boston University with a degree in Biomedical Engineering and a concentration in Technology Innovation. She brings experience from Legionarius, a medical device design startup where she worked alongside military personnel to help keep soldiers safe. She also has experience in academic research through BU’s department of Mechanical Engineering. She hopes to use her skills to help deliver high fidelity simulations to provide clinicians with the best educational experience, and patients with the highest quality of care possible.





Jeff Burns, MD, MPH

Co-Executive Director, SIMPeds Chief of Critical Care and Chair of the ICU Governance Committee Associate Professor of Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School Program Director, OPENPediatrics

Dr. Jeff Burns completed postgraduate training in Pediatrics in 1991, and Pediatric Critical Care Medicine in 1994, both at Boston Children’s Hospital, and is board certified in both from the American Board of Pediatrics. He also holds a Masters Degree from the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Burns was appointed as the first Shapiro Chair of Critical Care Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2005. He is on the Subboard for Pediatric Critical Care at the American Board of Pediatrics, Committee for Admissions at Harvard Medical School and is Co-Chair of the Ethics Advisory Committee at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Burns’ academic work over the past two decades has focused on innovations in postgraduate medical education. He founded the Children’s Hospital Simulator Program in 2000 and the OPENPediatrics program in 2009, which he currently directs.


Patricia Hickey, PhD, RN, FAAN

Hickey_Patty, Ph.D, RN, FAANCo-Executive Director, SIMPeds Vice President Cardiovascular and Critical Care Services Program Director for Nursing Practice, OPENPediatrics

Dr. Patricia Hickey is Vice President of Cardiovascular and Critical Care Services at Boston Children’s Hospital.  Her program of nursing administration research is focused on the linkages among nursing work environment characteristics and risk adjusted pediatric outcomes. Her policy work has been influential at the state level with the development of an interdisciplinary model for legislative action in Massachusetts. Nationally, she is a member of the American Academy of Nursing’s Expert Panel on Magnet Advancement and the American College of Cardiology’s Pediatric Quality Metric Steering Committee. Internationally, she serves on the executive committee of the International Quality Improvement Collaborative for Reducing Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Mortality in the Developing World and she is a senior nurse consultant for Project HOPE at Shanghai Children’s Medical Center.  She is assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and holds faculty positions in nursing at Northeastern University, Boston College, and Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China.