Newswise — CHICAGO (December 8, 2022): Surgeons need to be prepared—whether at home or abroad, in peacetime or in war—and the methods by which they keep their skills sharp are evolving. To help surgeons achieve and maintain their clinical readiness, the American College of Surgeons (ACS), in coordination with the Military Health System Strategic Partnership American College of Surgeons (MHSSPACS) and the Uniformed Services University (USU) of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, has developed a free resource—the Military Clinical Readiness Curriculum, also known as the “mCurriculum.”

The mCurriculum provides quick, easy to use modules that are freely available online for surgeons to access whenever they need to hone their surgical skills. Developed with military surgeons in mind, the modules can also be used by any surgeon who needs to fill a particular knowledge gap and can be used as a “just-in-time” training resource.

Improving care in Ukraine

The first 12 modules of the mCurriculum, available now, have also been translated into Ukrainian. These modules are relevant to the care of trauma patients no matter where in the world they receive care. Now that the materials are translated into Ukrainian, the modules can be used by surgeons providing care in Ukraine to help treat those injured in the war.

“We looked at the modules that were most appropriate for someone who was going to be facing the kinds of injuries that are being seen in Ukraine. We received that information from surgeons who have firsthand experience treating the injured in in Ukraine, and they informed us of the kind of injuries they were seeing and what their needs were.,” said M. Margaret “Peggy” Knudson, MD, FACS, Medical Director, MHSSPACS.

Surgeons directly involved in caring for injured patients in Ukraine, including a Ukrainian surgeon from Lviv, Ukraine, recently shared their experiences and described the complex surgical needs of their patients during a panel session at the ACS Clinical Congress 2022 in San Diego.

Seven domains of knowledge

The first 12 video-based modules are available for free, and more modules will be released in the coming months. Currently available modules include videos on the management of war wounds, amputation, burn care, blunt abdominal trauma, and more. Each module includes a voiceover transcript, can be completed on a smartphone or tablet, and is interactive, meaning it can be scanned for key points depending on individual learning needs.

The mCurriculum is broken down into seven domains of knowledge:

  • Airway and Breathing
  • Critical Care and Prevention
  • Expeditionary Unique
  • Head and Spine Injury
  • Torso Trauma
  • Transfusion and Resuscitation
  • Wounds, Amputations, and Fractures

“The mCurriculum we designed is really the cutting edge for surgical education. This is the way we are training people in the future. The mCurriculum is set up to address the needs of the modern learner, and the modern learner isn’t just the medical student or the physician in training. The curriculum is set up for education of physicians throughout the entire span of their career,” said Joseph M. Galante, MD, FACS, professor, department of surgery; medical director perioperative services; and trauma medical director, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, California.

To develop the modules, all branches of the military, along with civilian partners from the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma and the ACS Committee on Trauma, were brought together to develop these knowledge points.

“The program has three key components: knowledge assessment, skills assessment, and a metric practice, all coming together to ensure that our surgeons are both current and competent for that critical mission set,” said Eric Elster, MD, FACS, FRCSEng (Hon.), CAPT, MC, USN (Ret.), Executive Co-Chair, MHSSPACS, and Dean, USU School of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland. “It’s part of our trust with the American public to ensure that our surgeons are ready for civilian trauma; they’re ready for military trauma; they’re ready to take care of our nation’s heroes.”

Maintaining clinical readiness

The mCurriculum is an extension of MHSSPACS efforts in recent years to help military surgeons retain critical skills while they’re deployed, and then bring lessons from the battlefield back home to enhance civilian trauma care. These principles are laid out in The Blue Book: Military-Civilian Partnerships for Trauma Training, Sustainment, and Readiness, which provides guidance on creating military-civilian partnerships. These partnerships are key to expanding civilian trauma centers as a critical resource for combat medical readiness and creating a collaborative process between trauma centers and the military to bolster civilian mass casualty and disaster response.

The development of the mCurriculum was led by Dr. Elster, Dr. Galante, and Dr. Knudson. They identified a need for easy-to-access, mobile-optimized learning resources for military and civilian trauma surgeons. As key members of MHSSPACS leadership, they leveraged their connections in military and academic medicine and assembled a team of subject matter experts who authored the course content. 

Access the mCurriculum modules and learn more about MHSSPACS on the ACS website.

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About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 84,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. "FACS" designates that a surgeon is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.