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AFMMAST shares best practices with international partner
U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. David Patterson explains radiology training scenarios to Maj. Gen. Michael Tempel at the Medical Education and Training Campus on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, May 7, 2013. Tempel and his team were able to observe different scenarios of simulations throughout the campus between services to learn more about the San Antonio Military Health System training programs. Patterson is the Air Force radiology service training lead and Tempel is the commander for the Medical Operational Support Command for German Armed Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Kevin Iinuma)
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AFMMAST shares best practices with international partner

Posted 5/15/2013   Updated 5/15/2013 Email story   Print story


by By Tech. Sgt. Beth Anschutz
Air Education and Training Command

5/15/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Leadership from the Air Force Medical Modeling and Simulation Training (AFMMAST) Central Program Office recently had an opportunity to share best practices in medical simulation and training with Maj. Gen. Michael Tempel, commander of the Medical Operational Support Command for the German Armed Forces.

Col. Patrick Storms, Chief of Medical Modernization for AFMMAST, shared two days with Maj. Gen. Tempel touring Joint Base San Antonio medical facilities and training centers. The tour focused on technology and simulation used to improve medical education.

AFMMAST was established in 2008 to promote and manage simulation training across the Air Force Medical Service, but also to interact with sister services and other pertinent agencies. The Central Program Office is tasked with curriculum development, simulation site operations, logistics, as well as research and development in the arena of medical simulation and training.

"The more we use simulation," Storms said, ", the more we recognize the value of simulation training, driving appropriate investment in developing simulation technology and best practices."

The group started the tour at the Military Education and Training Campus (METC) at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. The METC is a tri-service training campus that houses more than 60 programs and produces 24,000 annual Air Force, Army and Navy enlisted graduates in medical education. Tempel got to see students interact with Human Patient Simulators in the radiology and surgical departments.

Human Patient Simulators (HPS) are life-like models of humans that provide interactions and physiologic feedback for medical training. Each simulator is used for specific educational goals and can simulate human reactions to trauma, such as bleeding and cardiac arrest. The METC uses the HPS in support of its curriculum to help trainees practice what they learn in the classroom and also test their knowledge through participation in training scenarios.

The group also toured the Army Combat Medic department's simulation lab. The Combat Medic simulation lab incorporates HPS within a training environment that adds war-time distractions, like noise and smoke. The lab gives the combat medics a chance to practice life-saving skills within a protected environment that mimics the stressors involved in combat.

The general also toured simulation labs at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center and the San Antonio Military Medical Center. At each stop, Tempel got a close-up look at how medical personnel use simulators to develop and hone their technical skills.

Next stop on the tour was Camp Bullis to see the Wide Area Virtual Environment (WAVE) trainer and the Medical Readiness Training Center. The WAVE is a large-scale simulator designed to train medical teams in battlefield and natural disaster scenarios. It is comprised of three vertical screens that display three-dimensional images to immerse the medical personnel in a virtual combat scenario.

"The WAVE differs from other simulation labs in that you can engage in medical training without having to build a field scenario," Storms said. "With this technology, you have the opportunity to construct many different environments within a fixed space."

Storms was also able to share many new developments in virtual medical training. AFMMAST developed a Virtual Medical Center, which provides Air Force personnel and their families with direct access to medical information and resources anytime, anywhere in a virtual environment. Storms shared innovations in gaming technology that can give additional virtual training before medics attempt hands-on training with simulations.

"Right now, artificial legs to practice surgical procedures can cost thousands of dollars each," Storms said. "But if I can go onto a computer game and practice these surgical techniques several times before I get my first synthetic leg, I can make better benefit of that leg."

Although the tour was short, Tempel said that the 48 hours with the AFMMAST team was "absolutely fascinating."

"The German Armed Forces are consolidating and restructuring, especially in the medical arena and we want to set up simulation centers. We know that the U.S. has excelled in this arena, so in our research, we thought it would be beneficial to see our friends across the pond and what they have done with simulation training," Tempel said. "I didn't think that we would take so much information home."

For more information on Air Force Medical Modeling and Simulation Training, visit

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