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Brewer helps dedicate high-tech military medical training facility

Roger Cowart, a simulation specialist, shows Gov. Jan Brewer a mannequin used for training at the Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center’s new military medical training center. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Channing Turner)

Roger Cowart, a simulation specialist, shows Gov. Jan Brewer a mannequin used for training at the Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center’s new military medical training center. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Channing Turner)

Gov. Jan Brewer dedicated a high-tech medical training center Wednesday designed to help military personnel prepare for battlefield emergencies.

Brewer lauded Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center’s partnership between military and civilian personnel and highlighted the new $1.6 million facility’s expected impact on medical training.

“Few missions can be more important than enhancing the training of our physicians, surgeons, nurses and other military personnel,” Brewer said. “[This center] is not only a model for our state as a successful public-private partnership, but a model for our entire country.”

The 7,500-square-foot center adds six training rooms featuring high-tech mannequins that mimic the functions of the human body and simulate battlefield injuries.

“These are very lifelike,” said Keith Withycombe, chairman of the Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation. “They have heartbeats. They have the ability to talk. They even respond to treatment. They even bleed — very realistic.”

The center also adds classroom and meeting space equipped with teleconferencing and audio-visual capabilities for reviewing trainees’ performances.

Jayme Ambrose, director of corporate and community health at Scottsdale Healthcare, said simulation and video recording technology allows trainees to review their performance and provides a more immersive training experience.

“[Trainees] get hands-on experience that gets them ready to provide those services in a emergency environment,” she said. “We’re able to run scenarios for our trauma nurses that no other technology provides. It just enhances the entire experience.”

Wendy Lyons, vice president of community stewardship for Scottsdale Healthcare, said the organization’s military partnership grew in the aftermath of 9/11, when it established a public-private partnership with Luke Air Force Base in 2002. Now, Scottsdale Healthcare has expanded that partnership to every branch of the armed forces.

More than 1,000 military professionals from all branches of the armed forces have received training from the program since 2004. Lyons said she expects the center to train 400 personnel this year and reach an annually capacity of 1,000 trainees in the near future.

Gen. Craig R. McKinley, the Arlington, Va.-based chief of the National Guard Bureau, said the center’s ability to straddle both military and civilian worlds will help dispel any disconnect between the two.

“What better way to close that gap than training and working together toward a common goal,” he said. “The military partnership here at Scottsdale Healthcare has created an environment where our military health care professionals can interact and train with their civilian counterparts, providing that connectivity.”

Retired Army nurse Elizabeth Tichenor, 91, attended the ceremony to see the new mannequins.

“[This is] a fantastic way for those young men to get training, instead of on cadavers,” she said.

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