Saint Louis University

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ST. LOUIS -- Saint Louis University School of Medicine, SLU Hospital and the Missouri Air National Guard were the recipients of an Excellence Award by the 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.

SLU was recognized for its innovative C-STARS program.

Robert Heaney, M.D., senior associate dean for the School of Medicine and Assistant Vice President Medical Affairs, and Col. Carl Freeman, M.D., assistant professor of trauma surgery, accepted the prestigious award, which highlights SLU's commitment to collaborating with the military for health care education, on Jan. 27.

The award was in recognition of the Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills (C-STARS) program, a cooperative two-week program that provides Air Force medical personnel with real-life, hands-on trauma experience to prepare for the sorts of trauma cases that are seen in combat. Through clinical rotations with SLU trauma doctors and nurses and weekly simulation exercises, Air Force doctors, nurses and medics have the opportunity to sharpen and refresh their trauma care skills prior to deployment.

The C-STARS program at SLU is one of only three Air Force-academic partnerships in the country. While all three sites provide essential training to combat medics, SLU's program was highlighted for its leadership and collaborative medical research effort.

"Receiving the Excellence Award is a tremendous honor for our program and illustrates the importance of hands-on learning experiences that prepare medical personnel for work in the field," Heaney said. "When you're deployed, you may only have a few seconds to make life or death decisions. The C-STARS program provides medics with the knowledge and skills to make those quick decisions."

Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: cancer, infectious disease, liver disease, aging and brain disease and heart/lung disease.