Here’s looking at you, kid: 6 new baby mannequins get proper names

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1,257 suggestions were whittled down to 6 names for the newest members of the Sim Center family at Fairbanks.


When you have a new baby, one of the first things you do is choose a name for the little person. When you have six new babies, the process takes a little longer – especially when you get 1,257 suggestions.

That was the predicament The Simulation Center at Fairbanks Hall found itself in when it took delivery of six new baby mannequins all the way from Norway several weeks ago and asked for help naming them.

The high-tech babies join a family of more than 15 child and adult mannequins that are used to train IU Health, IU School of Nursing and IU School of Medicine healthcare providers. You can feel their pulse, see their chest rise and fall and make them cry, but you can’t hurt them, and that’s just what nurses in training need.

“What better place to practice treating a baby than here, where we can make some mistakes and talk about them and learn and be ready for clinical practice,” said Greg Hasty, coordinator of the Simulation Center.

Julie Poore, a registered nurse and manager of the Sim Center, said selecting names for the six new arrivals was harder than she expected.

“The baby-naming contest went over like wildfire. We didn’t realize how popular it would be.”

Among the names submitted were all of the Seven Dwarfs, the Peanuts gang, mascots and players from local sports teams and names for all of the IU Health locations across the state. Also suggested were several names in memory of Riley babies and team members who have passed away.

In the end, the team decided on three categories: two popular names, two creative names and two dedications.

And the winners are:

  • Most popular – Riley and Taylor
  • Most creative – Willy Makit and Manny Quinn
  • Dedications – Jennifer and Julia

Jennifer is named in memory of Jennifer Dwyer, a nursing educator who worked closely with the Simulation Center for many years. Jennifer was an education specialist for onboarding programs at the Academic Health Center and the liaison to the Simulation Center. She graduated from the University of Evansville with her BSN in 1979 and MSN in 1984. She received her post-graduate family nurse practitioner certificate from University of Indianapolis in 1998.

“Jennifer worked closely with our team at the Sim Center on poster and podium presentations locally and nationally. She was a dedicated educator, simulation champion and good friend who is dearly missed,” Poore said.

Julia is named in honor of Julia Foster, a pediatrician who worked in neonatology at Riley Hospital for Children. Her husband, Jeff, submitted her name for consideration, and Dr. Bobbi Byrne, professor of clinical pediatrics and vice chair of pediatric education with IU Health, wrote in support of that nomination.

“A few years ago, Julia was diagnosed with a rapidly growing malignant brain tumor and died very soon after. It was all very sudden and a big loss for us,” Dr. Byrne wrote. “When Julia died, Jeff put a lot of resources and time into developing two funding opportunities in Julia’s honor. One supports the education of advanced practice providers, and the other is the Julia Foster Memorial Lectureship, bringing world-renowned speakers in for us. Julia was dedicated to babies. If there was a minute of down time, she was holding and soothing the NICU babies who were withdrawing from opiates.”

His former colleague would be embarrassed about the attention she is receiving now, Dr. Byrne said. But at the same time, “she loved her NICU family and her husband so much and I think she is blushing in heaven knowing that we all think about her and love her so much. Every time we use the Julia Foster mannequin and think about her, it will inspire us to do a better job teaching and a better job caring for infants, and I think that would make her very pleased in her very unassuming way.”

– By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist
   Email: mgilmer1@iuhealth.org
   Photos by Mike Dickbernd, IU Health visual journalist
   Email: mdickbernd@iuhealth.org

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