findings home/archives       contact us       other AHC publications   

September 2009 Issue

United States Air Force Capt. Ryan Earnest, MD (middle), will spend the year working on Air Force-funded research at UC with experts including Alex Lentsch, PhD (left), and Timothy Pritts, MD, PhD (right), as part of his surgical residency program.
RSS feed

Air Force Relationship Brings Research Into Military Medicine

By Katy Cosse
Published September 2009

Each morning, United States Air Force Capt. Ryan Earnest, MD, commutes from Dayton, Ohio, to UCs surgical research lab.

Its not a short drive, but for Earnest, a second-year surgical resident at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, his time at UC allows him to participate in research that could change how he works in the future.

As part of an optional research year in his program, Earnest will spend the next year at UC, working on Air Force-funded research led by Alex Lentsch, PhD, director of UCs surgical research unit.

They will work on a year-long study focused on the inflammatory response during air evacuation. UC researchers are studying the effect that rapid, high-altitude transport has on critical injuries in order to determine the best time to fly injured soldiers from the battlefield to a safe zone.

Earnest became interested in UC after learning about the work at the Cincinnati Center for Sustainment and Readiness Skills (C-STARS), housed in University Hospital.

I love the Air Force Ive been a part of it for a long time and its going to be a big part of my life, he says. So this is an opportunity to do things that would impact probably how Im going to practice medicine after I graduate and when Im overseas taking care of soldiers.

C-STARS course director Col. Gina Dorlac, MD, says UCs relationship with the Air Force allows for these partnerships to take place. This past summer, the department of surgery hosted two Air Force cadets for a short intensive experience in surgical research.

At the Air Force Academy, theres no basic science medical research, she says.

So the chance to be involved in medical research that speaks to our primary medical mission in the Air Force, that really doesnt happen anywhere else.

Lentsch says UCs surgical residency program, uniquely weighted toward developing academic surgeons, also enables these partnerships.

He says faculty have worked hard to put all the pieces together so that its mutually beneficial for everybody. The result is an expanded C-STARS program, close ties to the Air Force and opportunities for residents and faculty to work on clinically relevant issues.

It also means Earnest continues his resident education during his stay at UC: They let me right inIm getting quizzed just like everyone else, he says.

Residency program director Timothy Pritts, MD, PhD, says thats intentional.

Even though you take a year out, we want to make sure you come out of this experience as a better surgeon, not only a better researcher, he says.

 back to list | back to top