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Military health leaders take part in inaugural American Red Cross Advanced Life Support class

“It was important to me to have firsthand knowledge of the American Red Cross curriculum we’ll be rolling out to the rest of the MHS,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Sharon Bannister, Deputy Assistant Director for Education and Training. Bannister said being able to train and test alongside students in their third year of medical school was one of the best parts of the day. (MHS photo) “It was important to me to have firsthand knowledge of the American Red Cross curriculum we’ll be rolling out to the rest of the MHS,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Sharon Bannister, Deputy Assistant Director for Education and Training. Bannister said being able to train and test alongside students in their third year of medical school was one of the best parts of the day. (MHS photo)

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When the American Red Cross Advanced Life Support course was released to the Military Health System on March 1, a few key leaders had already completed the requirement, including two Defense Health Agency leaders responsible for the program’s success. The Deputy Assistant Director for Education and Training, Air Force Brig. Gen. Sharon Bannister, and the Deputy Assistant Director for Medical Affairs, Dr. Paul Cordts, were invited by the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences dean of the School of Medicine, Dr. Arthur Kellerman, to join the first group of students to receive the new training. On February 22, all three took their places beside third year USU medical students as they practiced necessary lifesaving treatment skills at the school’s Val G. Hemming Simulation Center in Silver Spring, Md.

“It was important to me to have firsthand knowledge of the ARC curriculum we’ll be rolling out to the rest of the MHS,” said Bannister. “From my personal experience, I believe the providers, medics and corpsmen will find there is a strong team approach focus in the ARC training platform. The blended learning really gives an opportunity to focus on the individual factors you need in advance of entering the classroom, to include completion of the written examination.  This allows for a hands on training opportunity fully focused on performing skills in a team setting to put the didactics to practice.  ”

The transition to the American Red Cross Resuscitation Suite officially began October 1, 2018, at the direction of DHA Director Vice Adm. Raquel C. Bono. Nearly 17,000 MHS members have received the new Basic Life Support training since November 1 when it was launched.  Both new versions of the Advanced Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support certifications will be available online on March 1.

Dr. Paul Cordts, the Deputy Assistant Director for Medical Affairs, was invited by the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences dean of the School of Medicine, Dr. Arthur Kellerman, to join the first group of students to receive the new American Red Cross Advanced Life Support training class. (MHS photo)
Dr. Paul Cordts, the Deputy Assistant Director for Medical Affairs, was invited by the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences dean of the School of Medicine, Dr. Arthur Kellerman, to join the first group of students to receive the new American Red Cross Advanced Life Support training class. (MHS photo)

Bannister said one of the exciting aspects of the new training – and one of the reasons the BLS training was implemented so swiftly – is the efficient way it provides personalized training.

“There will always be full, classroom-based courses for those who need or prefer them,” Bannister said. “But for those who use these life support skills frequently, the same amount of classroom instruction may not be necessary. This new training provides blended methods, offering ways to get certified in an amount of time commensurate with an individual’s experience.  Ultimately, this reduces time away from patient care for both students and instructors.”

The new training program provides online classes tailored to each user. Personalized training programs are developed based on an individual’s pre-assessment tests, adapting training to their needs, optimizing training time and improving content retention. The program’s foundation is similar to the American Heart Association training. Both are nested in the science of life support as established by the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation, a global organization made up of leading resuscitation organizations.

“This new curriculum – despite the new delivery methods – will seem familiar,” Bannister said. “That’s because they are both based on the same proven, scientific principles that have been endorsed by ILCOR.”

Bannister said being able to train and test alongside students in their third year of medical school was one of the best parts of the day. “It was inspiring to those of us who’ve been doing this forever to get to stand around the table with our future Military Health System leaders who are getting ready to go out and save lives,” she said. 

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