The Surgeon General of the U.S. Army, Lieutenant General Nadja West visited University of Cincinnati Medical Center (UCMC) on Thursday, July 6, 2017. The Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills (C-STARS) hosted the visit, featuring several presentations for West and a demonstration of the C-STARS simulation lab.
"We fix broke soldiers and that’s what we’re here for,” said Jay Johannigman, MD, professor in the Department of Surgery at the UC College of Medicine and director, UC Institute for Military Medicine. He provided West with history and background information on C-STARS, while other personnel shared information on other parts of the program, including the Air Force Critical Care Team and the Tactical Critical Care Evacuation Team.
C-STARS is a joint program between UCMC and the U.S. Air Force, offering training for military medical personnel in the areas of trauma and critical care.
Representatives of the 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Air Mobility Command, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and Ohio Army National Guard, also gave presentations. Amy Makley, MD, and Michael Goodman, MD, both assistant professors in the Department of Surgery at the UC College of Medicine shared their research in trauma and critical care, and Richard Branson, professor emeritus in the Department of Surgery shared his clinical science research in the area of critical care.
"Here at UCMC, we have a wonderful medical center where you see people in uniform as well as civilians, and there’s this broad synergy,” said Johannigman. "It’s really a unique continuum. It allows my military partners to be exposed to things that they can’t normally experience in a military training facility.”
West, the first female African-American three-star general in U.S. Army history and the highest-ranking woman to ever graduate from West Point, is the top medical officer in the Army and serves as commanding general of U.S. Army Medical Command.
"If we don’t get this right—taking care of our wounded at the point of injury and training those who might be in the position to do that—then it really doesn’t matter what else we get right,” said West.
"It’s an honor for me to meet you and to continue our partnership and deliver any value that we can to this great country,” said Michael Edwards, MD, Christian R. Holmes Professor of Surgery and Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the UC College of Medicine. "We believe in this continuum that if you provide the best patient care, you have to be a role model to pass that on to others. Then as you pass that on, you invariably look at what you can do better and you discover a better way to take care of the injured patient or soldier.”
In addition to being educational, the afternoon was also emotional for West. Toward the end of her visit, Johannigman presented her with a copy of an enlarged photograph that hangs in his office. The image is of a wounded Marine inbound to a U.S. military medical facility in Bagram, Afghanistan. The soldier’s left hand is grasped tightly by a U.S. Army medic. "It reminds us of why we do what we do,” Johannigman said as he gave the photo to her.
West took a long look at the image, fighting back tears. After thanking Johannigman she said, "What you’re doing here is phenomenal, it’s what we need to do for the future. This is what it’s all about."