The University of Chicago Medical Center is now a training site for trauma and critical care training site for U.S. Army physicians, nurses and medics, with hospital and military officials signing the agreement at an April 15 ceremony.
The institutions say the agreement, which has no end date, will benefit the military as well as the hospital in addition to South Siders at large.
"This partnership with the U.S. Army is the culmination of our ongoing work to bring world-class emergency care to the communities that we serve," said Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs Dr. Kenneth Polonsky.
He recalled the establishment of the hospital's new adult emergency room in 2017 and trauma center in 2018; the hospital also has a trauma center for children and a center for treating burn injuries. Last year, the UCMC saw 4,391 trauma activations, 47% more than in 2019.
Army personnel will learn in UCMC emergency department operating rooms and intensive-care units, allowing soldiers to maintain technical skills and operational readiness. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin pointed out that the Army personnel will in turn educate civilian counterparts about battlefield trauma care that can be put into use at the UCMC.
Army medical personnel training at the UCMC will either live in Chicago and work as full-time staff for up to three years or train on short-term assignments. Eventually, up to 30 medical personnel will train in Chicago every year.
Maj. Gen. Dr. Telita Crosland, Deputy Surgeon General of the U.S. Army Medical Command, said the military's medical response during the early months of a conflict is challenging after periods of peace
"Individual and collective skills not required in peacetime practice degrade, and the time taken in battle to mature and exercise those skills risk the lives of the service members we are committed to support," she said. "Partnerships like this one is integral to our ability to sustain trauma skill sets through real world, hands-on experience at one of the busiest trauma centers in the United States."
That said, Crosland did acknowledge the nation's two decades of "continuous" war after 9/11 and said lessons in military trauma care have been learned over that time.
"In a dynamic and complex world, our nation requires our military be ready to win in any environment, at any time," she said. "This partnership with you all is key to enabling that Army Medicine enables success on future battlefields."
The UCMC is the eighth institution to partner with the Army in the Military-Civilian Trauma Team Training program.