A standardized patient who has helped educate medical students since UCF’s medical school opened in 2009 was honored December 6 for helping build a healthier community.

David Shaheen, a retired NASA bookkeeper known at the medical school as “SP Dave,” received a “Boldy” award from Growing Bolder, an Orlando-based media group dedicated to inspiring people to live extraordinary lives as they age. Growing Bolder promotes bold, healthy aging in multiple media platforms, including television, radio, magazine and social media.

Shaheen received the “Building a Better Community Award” presented by the UCF College of Medicine. In presenting him with the art glass award, Growing Bolder’s Marc Middleton described how Shaheen trains students in the college’s Clinical Skills and Simulation Center. As a standardized patient, he and others are actors who pretend to be patients with conditions ranging from chest pain to a rash. Students care for SPs and learn how to take patient histories, do physical exams and most importantly communicate effectively and empathetically with people who are ill and injured.

Shaheen is one of 104 standardized patients, who range in age from 20 to 79. UCF students begin learning with SPs from their first weeks of medical school. SPs evaluate students and provide feedback on how well the student engaged and communicated.

In a live Facebook broadcast of the Boldy Award presentation, Shaheen told Growing Bolder’s Bill Shafer he became an SP after retiring because he loved watching students grow from young, uncertain first-years to mature, confident doctors.