UC Health Joins National Initiative To Train Military Personnel

A new partnership between the U.S. armed forces and four Cincinnati health systems, including UC Health, will provide specialized medical training to active, Reserve and Guard personnel from all branches of service.

Over the next two weeks, Operation Cincinnati S.M.A.R.T. (Strategic Medical Asset Readiness Training) will bring more than 30 military personnel from across the nation to Cincinnati, where they will work and learn alongside medical professionals in a hospital setting.  At University of Cincinnati Medical Center, the soldiers will experience the Emergency Department and Air Care & Mobile Care.

“As Greater Cincinnati’s only adult Level I Trauma Center, UC Medical Center has a long and proud history of partnering with the U.S. armed forces to provide medical training to soldiers,” said Rick Shumway, UC Medical Center chief administrative officer and vice president. “We are proud to join with our local health systems to extend this partnership.”

Operation S.M.A.R.T. was successfully piloted in Hackensack, N.J. last year, but this is the first time four independent health systems have collaborated to provide the training. At a kickoff event on Tuesday, military leadership said Cincinnati was selected for the quality of its Level I Trauma Center, UC Medical Center, as well as the strong ties among the city’s health systems.

“Access to a Level I Trauma Center is critically important to us,” said Maj. Gen. Michael O’Guinn, former deputy surgeon general for Mobilization and Readiness, U.S. Army Reserve. “We saw tremendous gains in training (during the Iraq War). The challenge now is to sustain that training.”

The nine-year partnership will help prevent skill atrophy among military medical personnel, and strengthen community ties and civilian/military relationships. The initiative is led by the Health Collaborative.

U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup, a physician, U.S. Army Reserve colonel and Iraq War veteran, said the program will provide invaluable real-world skills to military personnel.

“We do all kinds of simulations and training, but nothing is as good as the real thing,” he said at Tuesday’s kickoff. “We want to get as close to the wartime mission as possible.”

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