CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Nov. 11, 2020) -- Army Medicine leaders traveled to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Nov. 11, to join the UNC Health executive leadership to formally announce and celebrate the newest AMEDD strategic partnership.
This military-civilian partnership with UNC Health will allow military medical personnel to train at the UNC Medical Center, thereby ensuring the readiness of the Nation’s military medical force to save lives on the battlefield and at home.
The 803-bed UNC Medical Center serves more than 37,000 people annually. A military-civilian partnership with the medical center is ideal, as North Carolina is also the home of the largest military installation in the world at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville.
Hosting the partnership ceremony on Veterans Day, the day when America honors all those who have served the country, is “symbolic,” according to Command Sgt. Maj. Diamond Hough, U.S. Army Medical Command, and representative of the Army Medicine mission to remain “Ready, Reformed, Reorganized, Responsive, and Relevant.”
“It’s a special opportunity. We have a lot of reasons not to make time to recognize important moments like this, and I’m so grateful that we didn’t do that today,” said Maj. Gen. Telita Crosland, Deputy Army Surgeon General, Deputy Commanding General of Operations for the U.S. Army Medical Command and Chief of the Army Medical Corps. “We found the time; we made the time; we made the space on a historic day for the military to commemorate a key partnership that’s going to help us as Soldiers, do better.”
Crosland represented Army Medicine on behalf of the Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle. She was accompanied by Command Sgt. Maj. Hough, John Ramiccio, Deputy, G-3/5/7 (Operations), Office of the U.S. Army Surgeon General (OTSG); and Cynthia Barrigan, Military-Civilian Partnerships, G-37, Readiness & Training Division.
The event required attendees to wear face coverings and maintain appropriate social distancing as part of COVID-19 precautions.
Upon arriving at the UNC Medical Center, Crosland and the other Army Medicine leaders met with several UNC Health executives, including Gary Park, Chief Operations Officer; Steve Burriss, President; Dr. Cathy Madigan, Chief Nursing Officer, and Dr. Daryhl Johnson II, Trauma Medical Director, UNC School of Medicine, who offered an executive briefing on their MIL-CIV partnership vision/strategy.
“These military-civilian partnerships allow us to maintain a clinical competency, and the training keeps our AMEDD Soldiers at their highest level of proficiency ready to deploy and win,” Crosland said.
The focus of the day was a celebration ceremony held in the hospital’s auditorium. Army leaders from across Fort Bragg, UNC executives, and clinical staff attended the event in person and virtually through an internal broadcast of the event. Crosland and Dr. Wesley Burks, Dean of the UNC School of Medicine, Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs and Chief Executive Officer, UNC Health, signed a ceremonial letter to signify leader commitment for ensuring partnership success.
UNC Medical Center is the 7th Level I trauma center to partner with the AMEDD Medical Skills Sustainment Program (AMSSP). The program develops partnerships with civilian trauma centers and hospitals to build medical sustainment capabilities in Army medical personnel. These partnerships offer specialized medical training through the AMEDD Military-Civilian Trauma Team Training (AMCT3) and Strategic Medical Asset Readiness Training (SMART) initiatives.
The AMCT3 initiative focuses on training of personnel serving on forward resuscitative surgical teams through a combination of embedded and rotational assignments for up to three years. AMCT3 offers exposure to more severe trauma and critically ill patients than they typically experience in a military treatment facility.
The SMART initiative complements AMCT3 by providing additional training opportunities for the enlisted medical workforce. SMART offers 2-3 week rotations for a variety of medical military occupational specialties, such as combat medics, licensed practice nurses and operating room technicians.
These medical personnel are given the opportunity to get "hands on" training alongside their civilian counterparts. Currently, there are six Army Soldiers participating in the inaugural SMART rotation at the UNC Medical Center from the 528th Field Hospital, Fort Bragg.
“As we move forward and continue to adapt to our environment, these partnerships are going to be critical to our success. They give us the opportunity to see types of trauma that we normally may not see in our military hospitals, and these opportunities enable our Soldiers to increase their skillsets. And, ultimately that’s what we need,” Hough said.
Crosland also commented on how the medical training would benefit the medics.
“Just the experience and the volume builds confidence. And, when you fight to win, one of the key ingredients is confidence. If you’re confident, you can solve so many problems that you can’t even see today,” Crosland said. “Those young Soldiers are getting that. And they’re getting that investment by their Army, their Army Medicine, and their communities to make them the very best because winning matters.”
“What’s been humbling about all of this is the willingness of our partners to embrace what we need and to do it so passionately,” she continued. “I do think it will be an enduring model going forward as medicine is a team, and breaking down those walls between civilian and military, so we can come together and get the best out of it for both of us is what these kinds of partnerships represent.”
Dr. Johnson offered a similar note during the final moments of the partnership ceremony.
“Military and civilian health care providers will work together to enhance patient care through mutual training, sharing our best practices and innovation. Our cultures will continue to blend as we both seek continuous improvements in patient care, and we at UNC do not see this partnership as a one-sided affair,” Johnson said. “We desire at UNC to become the preeminent program that helps and shapes the way the U.S. Army trains its medical personnel. Partnering with the AMEDD Medical Skills Sustainment Program has potential to have impact far beyond improved trauma care and battlefield medicine. We expect this collaboration to be a foundation for preparedness for response to national disasters and other crises we face together here at home, such as the ongoing COVID pandemic.”