The Assistant Surgeon General for Mobilization, Readiness and National Guard Affairs attended the SMART (Strategic Medical Asset Readiness Training) Partnership at the Hackensack University Hospital in Hackensack, N.J. Aug. 16, 2018 to visit and speak on behalf of the Office of the Army Surgeon General.

Brig. Gen. Carl Reese, assistant surgeon general for Mobilization, Readiness, and National Guard Affairs, met with the Chief Operating Officer of the hospital system, vice president of operations for the university hospital, and servicemembers present for training. The current training cycle has 15 service members -- six Coast Guard, two Air Force, and seven Army Soldiers.

Reese said the Health System Administration and hospital staff are very supportive of
this program and service members.

"They are committed to the success of the program," said Reese. "While they are teaching our service members, our service members are also able to teach them as well. The program is individually tailored to each service member to ensure that they are getting what they need."

During the visit, Reese was able to meet with the service members to get a better understanding of their perspectives of the training.

"Each and every one of them states that they are getting an excellent training experience and are highly motivated to take what they have learned back to their units," said Reese. "This program has allowed them to build confidence in their skills and build TTPs that they will be able to take back to their respective services."

One example Reese gave is with the combat medic (68W) soldiers who have been working in the emergency department conducting ride-alongs in ground and air ambulance on routine medical calls as well as trauma calls.

"A number of these calls have been penetrating trauma," said Reese. "They all state that working the way they have will allow them to take those skills learned back and give them confidence to deploy and take care of critically injured service members."

This training program emphasizes the strong military and civilian partnership established to increase Soldier medical skills which supports a medically ready force.

On June 5, 2017, the U.S. Army Reserve and Hackensack University Medical Center announced the formation of Operation Hackensack SMART (Strategic Medical Asset Readiness Training), an innovative, first-of-its-kind partnership which focuses on high-quality, individualized specialty medical training for service members to improve their knowledge, skillsets and increase soldier readiness.

Soldiers partner with their civilian counterparts at Hackensack University Medical Center for 14 days of immersion training utilizing cutting-edge technology, at no additional cost to the government. What makes this program even more unique for the Army Reserve is that the training targets specialized, high demand clinical occupational specialties focused predominantly on the enlisted Soldier, like laboratory specialists, radiology specialists and operating room technicians.

These Soldiers shadow their civilian counterparts and rotate through the hospital continuum, gaining exposure to the Emergency Department, Operating Rooms, Inpatient and Outpatient areas as well as Clinical Laboratories. Previous military partnerships with the medical community have focused on team training, while this training focuses on individual clinical skills

"My overall assessment is this program is really value added for all of our service members who participate and has allowed them to increase their skills for the betterment of the care of our service member both at home and deployed," said Reese.