Fort McCoy Medical Simulation Training Center hosts Armywide medical conference
September 8, 2011
FORT McCOY, Wis. -- U.S. Army medical training personnel and civilian operational staff of Medical Simulation Training Centers (MSTCs) from throughout the Army gathered at the Fort McCoy MSTC for a three-day conference Aug. 30-Sept. 1.
The attendees focused on the exemplary capabilities offered at this site, and lessons learned throughout the history of this Armywide training program, currently available at 18 locations, said Master Sgt. Bruce Kaufman, the Fort McCoy MSTC noncommissioned officer in charge.
Best practices were a focal point in order to promote standardization in MSTC training.
The annual conference, now in its third year, has the location selected based upon the lessons learned and excellent capabilities offered to promote dialog for system improvement, Kaufman said.
"It is a great honor for the Fort McCoy MSTC to be selected by the Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO-STRI) to host this year's conference."
Kaufman further credited the success and selection of the Fort McCoy MSTC to the "unending efforts and personal sacrifice of his team" -- contractors and a garrison-supplied noncommissioned officer.
The Fort McCoy MSTC opened in January 2009 and provides state-of-the-art medical simulation training to all Soldiers and medics. The two primary courses offered at the Fort McCoy MSTC are the seven-day Medical Education and Demonstration of Individual Competence Training and Testing (TC 8-800) and the four-day Combat Life Saver Course. Kaufman said the MSTC's main customers are U.S. Army Reserve and Army National Guard Soldiers.
"Our main mission is to keep Army medics' trauma-treatment skills proficient. The MSTC also trains combat lifesavers using medical simulation. Last year we served 6,000 Soldiers, and we're at about 5,000 Soldiers trained in fiscal year 2011," Kaufman said.
The MSTC program provides a standardized set of simulation equipment, such as mannequins, moulage, and audio/sound systems. At Fort McCoy this is augmented through higher-command funding to increase the realism of the medical training. Fort McCoy, for example, has a trauma lane that resembles a small Iraq village.
"This was constructed last spring specifically to support MSTC training," Kaufman said. He further stated "the end result is medical-simulation technology put together in a package for 'cutting-edge' medical training."
The Fort McCoy MSTC is aligned with the installation's Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS), which coordinates its training needs.
Brad Stewart, DPTMS director, said hosting the Integrated Product Team-MSTC Conference was a tremendous opportunity for Fort McCoy to showcase the challenging and complex training the MSTC team currently provides for combat medics.
"Since the first class in 2009, the MSTC training team has integrated lessons learned from Operation Iraqi Freedom (now Operation New Dawn) and Operation Enduring Freedom into training life-saving measures at the point of injury that are saving Soldiers' lives," Stewart said. "As a result, their Program of Instruction has evolved, and now they are demonstrating those changes during the conduct of this conference." The MSTC teaches courses that ensure units are prepared to deploy with well-trained medics to support the operational commanders in contingency operations.
Sgt. Maj. Mohamed Reshad, who is with the Army Reserve Medical Command and also a contractor from PEO-STRI in Orlando, Fla. (the conference sponsor), said the medical personnel attending the conferences review lessons learned and best practices. Reshad is a military analyst for medical simulations for PEO-STRI.
"We get to see how training is conducted at the various facilities, and the new medical MOUT (military operations in urban terrain) lane site here is one of the more-impressive ones I have seen," Reshad said. "You can see what Fort McCoy MSTC has done and get design ideas. The conference is good because you also can get together with the other people attending to share ideas and network with them."
Reshad said, "The MSTCs allow Soldiers to constantly practice their medical tasks until the tasks become committed to memory and become second nature. This is important in combat situations because Soldiers don't have time to think through their actions, but must react and perform."
Reshad also said the participants conducted a type of Lean-Six Sigma brain-storming session. Attendees listed three things they do well, three things they could improve upon, one thing they would do if possible and one thing they would change.
Additionally, Fort McCoy MSTC personnel presented a demonstration of the MOUT medical-trauma lane, where conference participants watched a simulated medical-trauma training exercise.
Lt. Col. Vincent Leto, the Deputy U.S. Army EMS Programs Management Division and Army Medical Department Center and School MSTC Program Director, said it was good to come to Fort McCoy and see how the training works at a reserve-component site.
He compared the active-duty sites, which have a medical training population stationed on post, to challenges of serving a dispersed reserve-component training population.
Most notable were the multiple strategies to inform and recruit medical personnel to come and train at the Reserve and National Guard locations.
Leto continued to point out that Kaufman and his team have done a superb job reaching out and bringing to Fort McCoy trainees from throughout the Army.
"It is great to get a chance to see the physical site and walk it. You get a better feel for what is being done," Leto said. "The chance to meet people and talk face-to-face with them helps build working relationships that normally occur over a great distance."
For example, attendees were not only from the continental United States' MSTCs, but also from those located at Korea, Germany, Alaska and Hawaii.
Overall, Leto said he appreciated PEO-STRI's hosting of this conference as it "allowed all the people involved, including contractors, to meet and talk training to improve the MSTC program delivery."