Emergency Medicine is pleased to sponsor a fellowship for interested EM graduates in Critical Care Transport and Helicopter EMS (HEMS) with the UW Med Flight program. This unique program, established in July 2010, is aimed at providing the experience necessary to prepare future HEMS medical directors for this complex role.
Founded in 1985, Med Flight is among the best-established critical care transport services in the country and among the few that have flown full time with a physician-nurse-pilot flight crew configuration since day one. Med Flight’s long history and its status as a model for programs across the country pairs with the UW’s well-regarded and fully accredited EM residency program to form the foundation for the fellowship.
The one-year fellowship is primarily aimed at individuals interested in building their academic and administrative expertise by focusing on the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the medical direction of a HEMS program. With the rapid expansion of helicopter programs in the U.S. in the last 10 years (for better or worse) the strong need for good medical direction has become clear. Medical directors oversee these programs to ensure that staff is properly trained and appropriate medical utilization of HEMS programs is being followed.
A primary component of this fellowship is flight experience. To be an effective medical director of a HEMS program, one must understand the capabilities and limitations of the environment that flight crews work in. This is true for both the aviation and medical aspects of the program. Many residents may find themselves matched to EM programs that offer either no flight experience, or very limited ride-along experiences that do not provide adequate background to be effective. This fellowship provides significant flight experience by having the fellow as the sole physician responsible for all care as an integrated member of the flight team of nurse-pilot-physician.
But flight experience, while critical, is just one facet of the fellowship. It must be supplemented with adequate grounding in the administrative, academic and research components of a flight program and Emergency Medicine training program at a major university teaching hospital. The Med Flight Fellowship includes training in all of these areas. Our fellows participate in the Medical Director courses at the AMTC conference, and take part in the collaborative and translational research available at our Big 10 campus affiliated with the nationally regarded UW School of Medicine and Public Health.
The fellowship is sufficiently flexible to allow for exploration of individual interests. Further education at the master’s level (MPH or M.S.) is also available at the UW based on individual interests, and may be worked out in advance.
Michael Steuerwald, MD, is Medical Director of Med Flight. Contact him at (608) 890-9095 or email@example.com.