WROCLAW, Poland -- Regional Health Command Europe conducted it's Spring Medical Surgical Training conference in Wroclaw, Poland May 9-11.

This conference, which is conducted twice a year, is an opportunity for physicians and other medical providers to maintain their continuing medical education requirements here in Europe, rather than traveling back to the U.S.

The training focused on operational medicine and lessons learned from the Joint Trauma System as well as from NATO and Partnership for Peace Allies.

According to Col. Edward Michaud, RHCE Clinical Operations Chief, the medical surgical training has taken place in Germany for more than 30 years, and it has only been since 2017 that the spring training has been conducted in Poland.

Michaud said the reason for the Poland location, "is both to provide the opportunity for this training to our Regionally Allocated and other Forces in Poland as well as to create an opportunity to conduct multi-national training with our Polish and other allies."

Lectures were based on the Joint Trauma System clinical practice guidelines -- which continue to be developed by the JTS, enable standardization of training and implementation of operational medicine from facilities Role one through three.

"For this training, we had staff from Germany, Hungary, Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia, as well as the United States and Poland," Michaud said. "The training was not just lecture based, we also conducted hands-on training at the Polish 2nd Field Hospital for our staff using joint trauma system clinical practice guidelines."

The hands-on operational training corresponded with the lectures. These trainings utilized high fidelity mannequins for cardio and pulmonary simulations, as well as procedure models for chest tubes and cricothyroidotomy. Michaud said they even used human volunteers for the focused assessment with sonography for trauma (FAST) ultrasound exam and the walking blood bank stations.

In addition to training, the conference also serves as a platform for multi-unit and multi-national communication and planning.

A highlight, Michaud said, was a plenary panel with all participating nations represented.

"This panel discussion encouraged comparison and contrast of processes and procedures between nations with many of the international experts being leaders in the field of trauma and critical care medicine," he said. "Many friends were made along with discussions and planning for future engagements, training, and overall collaboration."

Coordinating a training that is relevant for providers from multiple countries can be a challenge, Michaud said, however participants of this training said they are taking a lot of great information home with them.

"I had a number of participants, who have been to these trainings before, tell me that this was a great opportunity and the best training they had ever been to," Michaud said. "It is always great to know that participants are taking back useful information that they will be able to use in their daily roles."

Michaud said that pursuing interoperability and engaging with militaries of other countries gives us the opportunity to learn new skills that further strengthen lethality.

"Interoperability--the ability of our Soldiers and systems, and those of other countries, to operate in conjunction with each other --is critical to bolstering an extended network of alliances and partnerships capable of decisively meeting the challenges of today and tomorrow," he said.