Standardized patients (SP) were introduced in medical schools in the early 1960s. By the 1980s, many schools had developed standardized patient programs as part of the curriculum for medical students. The Department of Family Medicine, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, first established its SP Program in 1982. In 1997, the program became housed in the Office of Clinical Skills Assessment and Education. The SP Program fosters an environment where medical students can learn to communicate effectively with patients. Students practice interviewing, problem solving, and diagnosing various health problems. SP’s also provide a tool for assessing the clinical skills of medical students as well as practitioners.