UAMS, Arkansas Army National Guard Join Forces To Improve Emergency Medical Training

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Army National Guard combat medics will be able to help meet the high demand for emergency care workers, whether for response to a medical emergency, a natural disaster or in support of a military deployment because of a new partnership with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).


Through this arrangement, the Department of Emergency Medical Sciences in the UAMS College of Health Related Professions will sponsor the Arkansas Army National Guard’s emergency medical technician (EMT) training for combat medics, UAMS and Guard officials announced today in a news conference. The cooperation will allow the new medics to be certified in Arkansas as emergency medical technicians as they receive their military medical training.


“This agreement with UAMS strengthens combat medical training in the Arkansas Army National Guard to benefit everyone involved including the state, which will have more qualified emergency medical technicians,” said Maj. Gen. Don C. Morrow, Arkansas’ adjutant general. “The combat medics will have training that prepares them for both military and civilian assignments as well as additional career opportunities.”


An estimated 75 guardsmen annually will be trained as combat medics in the combined program.  Previously, the guardsmen had to apply for Arkansas EMT certification on their own if they wanted to work as an emergency medical technician in the state.


“The UAMS College of Health Related Professions is privileged to be able to work with the Arkansas Army National Guard in this important project,” said Ronald Winters, Ph.D., the college’s dean. “This collaboration is an excellent example of UAMS meeting its mission of providing education that meets a critical health care demand for trained emergency medical professionals.”


The guardsmen will continue to receive their training at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock from Arkansas Army National Guard instructors, but the educational program will now include provisions to complete Arkansas EMT certification.  The combat medic training is similar to a civilian EMT training, but there were elements that were different. For example, the military program didn’t focus as much on situations such as vehicle extrication and child birth.


During the training, the medics will be enrolled in UAMS as students in the Emergency Medical Sciences EMT program. The students, whose tuition and fees will be paid by the Guard, will complete the clinical portion of their training in the UAMS Emergency Department and with area ambulance services.


UAMS also will assist with administering the combined program and coordinating the certification test. With Arkansas EMT certification, those combat medics will be able to apply for civilian EMT jobs.


“The recent disaster brought about by Hurricane Katrina underscores the need for this kind of partnership that will increase the number of emergency medical workers,” said UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D., who welcomed members from the Arkansas Army National Guard to the news conference on the UAMS campus.


The first soldiers to participate in the program will begin training as early as December of this year. The intensive training program takes about two weeks for Guard members.


Emergency Medical Technician-Basics (often called EMTs) can perform basic life support skills, treat injured or seriously ill patients and can save lives. EMTs function in a variety of situations, from resuscitating a cardiac arrest victim to delivering a baby.


The combat medics can learn more advanced lifesaving techniques through additional paramedic training and certification.


Emergency care workers are in high demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to see a more than 35 percent increase in the demand for paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) in the next five years.


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, five centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has more than 2,200 students and 660 residents and is the state’s largest public employer with almost 9,000 employees. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $4.3 billion a year.


UAMS centers of excellence are the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy and Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute.