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Life Support training classes begin at DHHQ

Four military personnel in masks, in a conference room, looking at a presentation on a screen, with several practice dummies U.S. Air Force Capt Theodore Urbano, program manager, Defense Health Agency military medical treatment facility education and training, plans and policy, welcomes students to the inaugural DHHQ BLS training course, September 14, 2020. In photo from left to right is U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Anita Fligge, U.S. Navy Lt. Cdr. Shevonne Wells, U.S. Air Force Capt. Theodore Urbano, and U.S. Public Health Service Cdmr. Tara Cozzarelli. (Photo Credit U.S. Navy Cmdr. Thomas Sather)

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A new class at the Defense Health Headquarters is helping Military Health System leadership and staff stay current in valuable lifesaving skills.

The DHHQ’s inaugural American Red Cross Basic Life Support class took place Sept. 14. The classes show the Defense Health Agency’s continued commitment to supporting a ready medical force and help equip the DHHQ workforce for emergencies inside and outside the workplace.

Among the first students at Monday’s class was Air Force Brig. Gen. Anita Fligge, DHA deputy assistant director for education and training.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Anita Fligge practicing CPR on a practice dummy
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Anita Fligge, Defense Health Agency Deputy Assistant Director for Education and Training, practices proper chest compressions during the inaugural Basic Life Support class offered at the Defense Health Headquarter, Falls Church, VA, September 14, 2020. (Photo Credit U.S. Navy Cmdr. Thomas Sather)

“DHA personnel may not be involved in direct patient care, but it is critical that ALL personnel maintain life support skills in the event they are called to respond to a medical emergency” said Fligge. “Immediate response and application of these skills could save a life.”

While the first class covered basic life support, future offerings will include other American Red Cross accredited courses, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator ­(also known as CPR/AED training), and Advanced Life Support.

“We are extremely pleased to bring the Red Cross BLS curriculum to the DHHQ and provide life support training to help our medical force remain ready,” said Navy Cmdr. Thomas Sather, chief for training operations and MHS Life Support training manager. “Offering the class here is convenient for the many clinicians in the DHA, Army Medical Command, Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, and the Air Force Medical Service, all headquartered at the DHHQ."

Life support classes are predominately offered for providers and staff at military medical treatment facilities across the MHS, but this is the first time they are available at MHS headquarters.

“The first class was a real success,” said Air Force Capt. Theodore Urbano, program manager, DHA military medical treatment facility education and training, plans and policy, and the course instructor. “We follow all COVID-19 safety procedures to ensure our students are safe, making this a great blueprint for classes to come.”

MHS clinicians must recertify in life support every two years. Physicians, nurses, and other allied health personnel that complete the course will receive five continuing education units.

"As a combat support agency, it is important that we ensure Headquarters staff maintains readiness,” said Fligge, “By offering classes at DHHQ, we are able to give staff back time they would have spent traveling to a MTF. Improving the visibility and accessibility of our life support training reinforces the importance of medical readiness to support a ready medical force.”

More information on MHS life support classes can be found at the Military Training Network website.

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