Co-Chair and Director for Surgery, Walter Reed National
Military Medical Center; and professor, Uniformed Services
University Walter Reed Department of Surgery
Dr. Bulger (foreground) and Dr. Winchell
Therese West, DNP, makes a point from the audience
Dr. Fabian (left) and Dr. Jurkovich
establishing a federal home for trauma research funding, develop strategies to address regulatory burden,
and offer a unified approach to advocacy.
A unified system
A key focus of the conference was the integration of
the military and civilian trauma workforce. At present, lessons learned on the battlefield are not reliably
translated to civilian care. Part of the problem is the
military health system has a shortage of dedicated
trauma surgeons. To unify the civilian and military
trauma systems, the military health services and the
College have created the Military Health System
Strategic Partnership American College of Surgeons
(MHSSPACS). Through the MHSSPACS, we already
are taking important steps to achieve the NASEM
report’s goals, as M. Margaret “Peggy” Knudson,
MD, FACS, Medical Director, MHSSPACS, noted at
Furthermore, the U.S. Congress is expected to
vote on the Mission Zero Act (H.R. 880) this year.
The bill would provide $40 million in funding to the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to
facilitate partnerships between military trauma care
teams/providers and high-volume civilian Level I
trauma facilities. Passing the Mission Zero Act will
allow us to take these initiatives further by partnering
civilian and military surgeons and care teams at some
of the busiest trauma centers in the nation.
As a trauma surgeon and COT member for many
years, I have firsthand experience with the evolution
of trauma surgery in the U.S. I have seen it evolve into
a dedicated specialty comprised of some of the most
skilled and compassionate surgeons in the profession.
Nonetheless, much work needs to be done. Efforts like
the ones described in this column and at the meeting in April will go a long way toward ensuring that
trauma patients on and off the battlefield receive optimal care. ♦
If you have comments or suggestions about this or other issues, please
send them to Dr. Hoyt at firstname.lastname@example.org.