US Representative Jason Crow visited the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus on Monday to learn about current on-campus programs and research addressing the medical needs of the U.S. military, including solutions for combat casualty care, critical and urgent care, surgical trauma, and acute mental health. The Center for Combat Medicine and Battlefield (COMBAT) Research hosted the visit in which additional CU leadership and research groups participated for a supportive discussion of current military medical challenges.
The visit with Crow, a former army ranger and current member of the Armed Service Committee, highlighted the importance of creating scientific breakthroughs that provide critical care to servicemen on and off the battlefield.
COMBAT’s leadership, including Colonel Vik Bebarta, MDand Brigadier General (Retd) Kathleen Flarity, DNP, PhD, led the discussion during the visit and provided Crow with information on the progress the center has made in recent years.
“Our job is to change policies and practices that benefit both military and civilian communities, so we’re grateful that the center’s mission aligns with Rep. Crow’s larger vision and area of interest for national security,” said Bebarta, director for COMBAT and professor in emergency medicine at the CU School of Medicine.
Taking cutting edge science to the next level to save lives
Crow visited two labs that demonstrated the direct impact research can have on combat and civilian medical care, both focused on trauma solutions.
The Antidote Translational Research, Innovation and Development (TRIAD) team discussed their research evaluating alternative routes of administration of FDA-approved drugs shown to reduce bleeding and how the work is relevant to both military and civilian trauma patients. Identifying a drug delivery route that is effective and easy to administer by first responders or bystanders with minimal or no training can reduce the need for blood transfusions, leading to better patient outcomes and ultimately saving lives.
“Through our research, we hope to provide evidence-based, real-world approaches to the military and local community,” says Tara Hendry-Hofer, MSN, RNprogram manager for TRIAD.
Mitchell Cohen, physician, Professor of surgery and principal investigator for the Trauma Research Center, guided Crow through his lab, which takes a multidisciplinary approach to trauma-induced coagulopathy and inflammation to reduce morbidity and mortality for those who are critically injured. The Trauma Research Center is a leader in trauma resuscitation. Cohen and surgical assistants shared how physical trauma can damage the endothelium of blood vessels and cause vascular leakage, which can injure lungs and kidneys.
Strengthen current research for accelerated military support
During a roundtable discussion highlighting the importance of partnerships and expanding research that solves real problems on the battlefield, COMBAT and the Trauma Research Center leadership team were joined by John J. Reilly Jr., MDdean of the CU School of Medicine; Thomas Flaig, physician, vice chancellor for research at CU Anschutz Medical Campus; CU Regent Ilana Dubin Spiegel; Robert McIntyre, MD, professor of surgery; Lieutenant Commander Ian Eisenhauer, MC, USN, emergency medicine research associate; and Captain Matt Paulson, COMBAT scholar.
Bebarta discussed COMBAT’s deployment and operational research model, which focuses on supporting service members at every stage of the deployment to address their pressing medical challenges. Adit Ginde, MD, MPHprincipal investigator Airway, Trauma, Lung Injury, and Sepsis Study (ATLAS)shared research on oxygen conservation tactics for trauma patients, sepsis-induced hypotension, and airway intubation.
Julia Dixon, MD, MPHco-researcher for the C3 Global Trauma Network: Cape-Colorado-Combatgave an overview of global impact and military cooperation, and Emmy Betz, MD, MPHdirector of the Firearm Injury Prevention Initiativepresented on ongoing projects related to mental health for veterans.
The discussions and presentations led Crow to speak of his concerns about Ukraine’s ongoing conflict and critical trauma needs, highlighting the importance of COMBAT’s research to improve care on current and future battlefields for large-scale combat operations.
With current partnerships with the Defense Health Agency, Department of Defense, active military commands, hospitals and industrial partners, COMBAT plans to continue discussions with Crow about collaboration and research to save lives in combat and civilian communities.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to share the impressive work of our academic researchers with Rep. Crow and look forward to continuing to lead the way in solving current and future relevant U.S. military medical challenges,” said Bebarta.