International Trauma System Development Program
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International Observership Program


The PTS International Observership  program is open for qualified foreign national members who wish to visit and observe certain clinical and educational activities of afilliated trauma centers for a short period of time.

Focus / Component of the program

The experience as an observer can include combined educative components depending on what the participants interest is.

  • Surgery Trauma Intensive Care Unit
  • Trauma Systems / EMS
  • Center for Trauma and Critical Care Education
  • Performance Improvement Program
  • Ultrasound in emergency and trauma
  • Other

Current PTS Collaborative Partners / Host Institution Within VCU:

  1. Department of Surgery, Division of Acute Care Surgical Services
  2. VCU Center for Trauma and Critical Care Education
  3. MCVH Performance Improvement Program
  4. Center for Human Simulation Center
  5. Minimally Invasive Surgery Center
  6. Surgery Trauma ICU
  7. International Trauma Systems Development Program (ITSDP)

In Richmond:

  1. Chesterfield Fire/EMS
  2. Richmond Ambulance Authority
  3. Life Evac

In the US:

  1. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (Pennsylvania)
  2. Riverside Country, Regional Medical Center (California)

Outside US:

  1. Panamerican Trauma Society and its 18 affiliated Trauma, Critical Care, and Prehospital societies.
  2. "El Valle University" in Cali, Colombia

Sample Activities

Various activities at the different host institutions are developed for the observer, some included:

1. Surgery Trauma ICU 

Observe critical care management of surgical critical care patients via ICU  rounds, participate in discussions. The Observer  will also participate in the weekly teaching seminars of the  Division of Acute Care Surgical Services. Trauma Systems - EMS / Center for Trauma and Critical Care Education (CTCCE)

At CTCCE the Observer has the opportunity to observe the various skills and  personnel needed for program planning and management, curriculum development  and program administration.  The observer will learn about  several different types of EMS systems in the commonwealth of Virginia including medical air services, ride with different rescue squads. Will participate in the trauma and EMS Training Programs and continuing  education programs conducted by CTCCE. The above skills and information is crucial for the organization and enhancement of EMS systems in international  settings.

3. Division of Trauma Performance Improvement Program (PIP) and the Trauma registry get to observe the Performance Improvement/ Trauma Registry coordinator who utilizes clinical expertise to abstract data, assign abbreviated  injury scores and identify, report and follow up on quality issues. The PIP/Registry  Coordinator also analyzes data and develops reports for statistics, research, and  planning. the Observer  will gain insight into the importance of the trauma registry as  a tool for trending data and separating out the trauma population for comparative  analysis. The observer will learn the structure and operation of a Trauma  Medical Audit Committee and learn the value of developing a peer review  committee analysis of preventable pre-hospital and in-hospital factors contributing to trauma deaths.

4. Ultrasound in Emergency and Trauma

In addition the rotation can be focused on emergency and trauma ultrasound training under the leadership of Dr. Paula Ferrada, with emphasis on echocardiogram and FAST of critically ill patients.
2011 - 2012 OBSERVERS

image 6Dr. Juan Carlos Salamea a Trauma and Critical Care fellow from the "El Valle University" in Cali, Colombia got the opportunity to do a three month rotation from July 5th through September 25th 2011, with a focus on Trauma Systems and EMS.  

image 8Dr. Juan Sebastian Martinez a Fourth year surgical resident from Cali,  Colombia did a one month rotation during January 2012. He visited Virginia Commonwelath University Medical Center and his rotation was focused on emergency and trauma ultrasound. 
Observation only: This program is strictly observational. A Participant shall in no way be permitted to actively participate in patient care or direct contact, examination, research or other work during his/her observership.


Contact Information

  • If you wish to participate as a host center please notify ITSDP/VCU coordinator who the observership program coordinator is for that institution or center. 
  • Participants, who wish to observe activties at VCU please contact ITSDP/VCU observership coordinator for more information and requirements.
  • Observers who wish to observe activties at other participating instituions (other than VCU) contact ITSDP coordinator who will provide coordinator contact information for that instituion.

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    last updated: 10/24/2017
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