AFSOUTH Takes Medical Readiness Expertise to Salvadoran Counterparts

AFSOUTH Takes Medical Readiness Expertise to Salvadoran Counterparts

By Dialogo
March 16, 2015




Medical specialists from AFSOUTH and the joint military residency training program at Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital (FBCH) in Virginia recently held a medical Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) in San Salvador, El Salvador. Two international health specialists from Air Forces Southern (AFSOUTH), two family medicine staff physicians, and two family medicine residents from FBCH visited Hospital Militar Central (HMC) in San Salvador from February 9-13, to exchange information and train on medical readiness with their Salvadoran counterparts.

“The objective of the SMEE was to support El Salvador in strengthening their medical plan and building their capability to respond to the effects of natural and man-made disasters, as well as enhance and develop doctrine and information sharing structures in order to maintain the health readiness of the Salvadoran Air Force,” said U.S. Air Force Major Brian Neese, the Global Health Engagement Action Officer for AFSOUTH, the U.S. Air Force component of U.S. Southern Command.

The event also built on the long-term effort to establish a bilateral institutional relationship between the FBCH in Virginia and the HMC in El Salvador. “This event was unique for SOUTHCOM and AFSOUTH due to its emphasis on creating an institutional relationship between the residencies of both hospitals,” said U.S. Air Force Captain John Lax, Resident Physician at FBCH, who participated in the event. “Specifically, as a chief resident, I was able to establish a relationship for sharing of interesting cases between our two hospitals,” he added.

Centered around education and capacity building on one hand and quality improvement on the other, the exchange was divided into two domains. As part of the efforts to build the Salvadoran hospital’s capabilities, the medical personnel sponsored by AFSOUTH focused on enhancing the HMC’s staff training in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Basic Life Support (BLS), their readiness for disaster preparedness, and establishing a residency learning cooperative between FBCH and HMC residents.

According to Salvadoran Army Major Carlos A. Díaz, chief of medical services and hospital care at HMC, “Exchanges like this one are very important in providing us ideas, valuable information, and a successful first-hand experience.”

The partners also discussed ways to build a sustainable, organic life support training program with future plans to augment their existing training and provide train the trainer courses in the future, whereby a small staff that trains and gets certified in a specific specialty can then spread the knowledge attained by teaching it to others.

They also simulated a mass casualty drill based on a real-life plane crash led by third-year residents, who verbalized the process of assessing their victims, their treatment plans, requesting the supplies needed, and describing the procedures they followed. The designated faculty facilitators then debriefed the residents on their performance and the U.S. personnel provided strategic and operational feedback on building and improving their mass casualty training scenarios as well as the holistic scope of a full disaster response training program.

Maj. Díaz said that given their limited resources, training jointly was especially beneficial for HMC’s medical personnel. “Many times institutions like ours are faced with limited resources, both economic and in terms of personnel, so exchanges like these allow us to focus on precise strategies that can greatly affect the care we provide without having to use too many resources.” For example, he added, “using simulated scenarios of emergency situations as educational tools not only allows us to use sophisticated equipment, but also has a low-cost, long-range impact on our personnel’s training and readiness capability during real emergency or disaster cases.”

HMC currently serves as the primary learning institution for a surgical residency program and an internal medicine residency program in El Salvador, so the U.S. and Salvadoran teams discussed building a Learning Cooperative between the HMC’s internal medicine residency program and the FBCH’s family medicine residency program to include a journal club, case sharing, and joint lectures

“HMC sees a lot of pathology that our trainees are not routinely exposed to, and the same for the trainees at HMC,” explained Capt. Lax. “As a result of our trip, we have established a collaborative partnership to share cases and teach each other via video-conferencing.”

Capt. Lax said the residents at HMC expressed concern over having to read and understand medical journals in English, which makes it hard for them to keep up with current medical advances. “We have created a website where, once per month, HMC residents are given a significant journal article from the medical literature and then receive quizzes on their understanding of the article,” he said. “Empowering them to read the literature themselves and helping them understand will hopefully create a new generation of Salvadoran military physicians that are empowered to better their own medical system.”

During a previous visit in August 2013, HMC and FBCH colleagues had specifically pointed out that quality assurance is a major potential project. So the SMEE also focused on developing this further. According to Maj. Neese, HMC’s Maj. Díaz showed a particular interest in leading an effort to build a quality control program at HMC, so the U.S. personnel helped him collect information by in-person interviews with HMC staff and a brief, informal survey to nurses and residents.

“The end goal for our collaboration in the area of quality improvement will be to develop a simple, but high-fidelity adverse event reporting system within the HMC,” said Maj. Neese. “This will serve as the cornerstone to a hospital-wide quality control program.”

“In the short term, we hope to establish our own quality care and patient safety program that will allow us to improve the quality of our care by integrating all the personnel responsible for providing patient care, including doctors, nurses, and technical and administrative personnel,” explained Maj. Díaz.

“We’re convinced that today’s world is characterized by threats of a different nature, so international collaboration and cooperation are the best way to confront and overcome today’s and tomorrow’s threats,” he concluded.



Medical specialists from AFSOUTH and the joint military residency training program at Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital (FBCH) in Virginia recently held a medical Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) in San Salvador, El Salvador. Two international health specialists from Air Forces Southern (AFSOUTH), two family medicine staff physicians, and two family medicine residents from FBCH visited Hospital Militar Central (HMC) in San Salvador from February 9-13, to exchange information and train on medical readiness with their Salvadoran counterparts.

“The objective of the SMEE was to support El Salvador in strengthening their medical plan and building their capability to respond to the effects of natural and man-made disasters, as well as enhance and develop doctrine and information sharing structures in order to maintain the health readiness of the Salvadoran Air Force,” said U.S. Air Force Major Brian Neese, the Global Health Engagement Action Officer for AFSOUTH, the U.S. Air Force component of U.S. Southern Command.

The event also built on the long-term effort to establish a bilateral institutional relationship between the FBCH in Virginia and the HMC in El Salvador. “This event was unique for SOUTHCOM and AFSOUTH due to its emphasis on creating an institutional relationship between the residencies of both hospitals,” said U.S. Air Force Captain John Lax, Resident Physician at FBCH, who participated in the event. “Specifically, as a chief resident, I was able to establish a relationship for sharing of interesting cases between our two hospitals,” he added.

Centered around education and capacity building on one hand and quality improvement on the other, the exchange was divided into two domains. As part of the efforts to build the Salvadoran hospital’s capabilities, the medical personnel sponsored by AFSOUTH focused on enhancing the HMC’s staff training in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Basic Life Support (BLS), their readiness for disaster preparedness, and establishing a residency learning cooperative between FBCH and HMC residents.

According to Salvadoran Army Major Carlos A. Díaz, chief of medical services and hospital care at HMC, “Exchanges like this one are very important in providing us ideas, valuable information, and a successful first-hand experience.”

The partners also discussed ways to build a sustainable, organic life support training program with future plans to augment their existing training and provide train the trainer courses in the future, whereby a small staff that trains and gets certified in a specific specialty can then spread the knowledge attained by teaching it to others.

They also simulated a mass casualty drill based on a real-life plane crash led by third-year residents, who verbalized the process of assessing their victims, their treatment plans, requesting the supplies needed, and describing the procedures they followed. The designated faculty facilitators then debriefed the residents on their performance and the U.S. personnel provided strategic and operational feedback on building and improving their mass casualty training scenarios as well as the holistic scope of a full disaster response training program.

Maj. Díaz said that given their limited resources, training jointly was especially beneficial for HMC’s medical personnel. “Many times institutions like ours are faced with limited resources, both economic and in terms of personnel, so exchanges like these allow us to focus on precise strategies that can greatly affect the care we provide without having to use too many resources.” For example, he added, “using simulated scenarios of emergency situations as educational tools not only allows us to use sophisticated equipment, but also has a low-cost, long-range impact on our personnel’s training and readiness capability during real emergency or disaster cases.”

HMC currently serves as the primary learning institution for a surgical residency program and an internal medicine residency program in El Salvador, so the U.S. and Salvadoran teams discussed building a Learning Cooperative between the HMC’s internal medicine residency program and the FBCH’s family medicine residency program to include a journal club, case sharing, and joint lectures

“HMC sees a lot of pathology that our trainees are not routinely exposed to, and the same for the trainees at HMC,” explained Capt. Lax. “As a result of our trip, we have established a collaborative partnership to share cases and teach each other via video-conferencing.”

Capt. Lax said the residents at HMC expressed concern over having to read and understand medical journals in English, which makes it hard for them to keep up with current medical advances. “We have created a website where, once per month, HMC residents are given a significant journal article from the medical literature and then receive quizzes on their understanding of the article,” he said. “Empowering them to read the literature themselves and helping them understand will hopefully create a new generation of Salvadoran military physicians that are empowered to better their own medical system.”

During a previous visit in August 2013, HMC and FBCH colleagues had specifically pointed out that quality assurance is a major potential project. So the SMEE also focused on developing this further. According to Maj. Neese, HMC’s Maj. Díaz showed a particular interest in leading an effort to build a quality control program at HMC, so the U.S. personnel helped him collect information by in-person interviews with HMC staff and a brief, informal survey to nurses and residents.

“The end goal for our collaboration in the area of quality improvement will be to develop a simple, but high-fidelity adverse event reporting system within the HMC,” said Maj. Neese. “This will serve as the cornerstone to a hospital-wide quality control program.”

“In the short term, we hope to establish our own quality care and patient safety program that will allow us to improve the quality of our care by integrating all the personnel responsible for providing patient care, including doctors, nurses, and technical and administrative personnel,” explained Maj. Díaz.

“We’re convinced that today’s world is characterized by threats of a different nature, so international collaboration and cooperation are the best way to confront and overcome today’s and tomorrow’s threats,” he concluded.
What's going on is really sad. I don't like it because it could happen to us Poor people...Everything going on in the world is so awful.
Share