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Grant Will Help Develop Training Program for Aeromedical Evacuation University News
For release: September 15, 2010

For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded the Loewenberg School of Nursing and the School of Public Health at the University of Memphis a $1.4 million grant to streamline medical evacuation procedures during a catastrophe.

The two-year study will develop and test a training program to ensure effective interaction between civilian and military operations in the event of a crisis requiring aeromedical evacuation. Significant differences exist between civilian and military medical procedures, training, and protocols for patient identification, selection, and preparation in an aeromedical evacuation. These differences create barriers to effective patient care, unnecessary failures in medical logistics systems, and increased costs and risks to aeromedical crews and patients during crises such as Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake.

This project aims to identify the essential elements of the principles of aeromedical evacuation and includes triage, patient selection, patient preparation, patient receipt, and the planning components as they relate to the mission of the Department of Defense. The goal is to create a training program that eventually will be implemented across the nation and the world.

Other team members in the project are the Medical Education and Research Institute in Memphis and the National Center for Medical Readiness at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

“The program will enhance the capabilities of pre-hospital and hospital providers to participate more smoothly in aeromedical evacuations and to reduce morbidity and mortality in disaster situations,” said Dr. Robert Koch, principal investigator and associate dean of the Loewenberg School of Nursing.

“This project is of utmost importance to the public health response to large-scale disasters, where efficient coordination of aeromedical military and civilian operations is essential in saving lives,” said Dr. Marian Levy, co-principal investigator and director of the U of M’s Master of Public Health program. “Our deliverables will help strengthen international, national, and local response to public health disasters.”

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