New York Medical College’s Center for Disaster Medicine Brings Military Training to Westchester County’s Bravest Police
Training Prepares Special Response Team Officers to Provide Life Saving Medical Aid During Active Shooter Incidents and Other Disaster Situations
Jennifer Riekert, M.B.A.
Vice President of Communications
New York Medical College
Valhalla, N.Y. – June 29, 2018 – On June 20, 24 of Westchester County’s bravest special response team (SRT) officers learned state-of-the-art operational medicine techniques at New York Medical College’s Center for Disaster Medicine during a special training program on tactical and austere medicine. These techniques, often referred to as military medicine, were developed on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan, perfected by the U.S. Department of Defense, and customized for civilian law enforcement here at NYMC’s Center for Disaster Medicine.
Michael J. Reilly, Dr.P.H. ’10 M.P.H. NRP, EMT-T, director of the Center for Disaster Medicine, associate professor of environmental health science, associate professor of clinical emergency medicine, and director of the Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters, described this training as being years in the making, “This training is a direct result of a U.S. Army grant awarded to the Center in 2015, for the purpose of piloting a program to train civilian law enforcement officers in military medicine practices—based on best practices and lessons learned from Afghanistan and Iraq.” Providing further explanation, Dr. Reilly said:
“We took lessons and evidence-based medicine from the battlefield and translated those into civilian applications including scenarios involving an active shooter and other mass casualty events in the civilian world. This training teaches the first responders keeping us safe in our communities the specialized skills and best practices of delivering good medicine in bad places.”
Customized for civilian law enforcement officials, the training (which extended more than 15-hours), included both didactic and immersive skills labs where officers learned specific law enforcement and medical skills and procedures and then participated in scenarios which required them to apply these techniques while making split-second decisions. Westchester County Police Sgt. Brian Bosan, who led 24 officers from the special response team, said his men received tremendous instruction from NYMC’s medical experts, gained new understanding of the best methods and techniques in medical interventions, and ultimately left better prepared to save lives in the worst case scenarios.
“When things go bad, these are the skills you need to be able to perform without even thinking. To do this, you need to have hours of training under your belt so you are working off of muscle memory,” said Ahmad Ibrahim, a former U.S. Army solider and EMT, who assisted Center staff instructing the lab on Bleeding and Chest Injuries.
The Patient Assessment in Sensory Impaired Environments lab required officers to step into a sensory overload simulation, wherein officers were required to perform tasks while exposed to disruptive stimuli including lights, smoke, offensively loud music at levels scientifically proven to cause deterioration of abilities. Additional skills labs included Officer Rescue, Extrication Devices, Equipment Platforms, Mask Confidence, and Hemorrhage Control, Chest Injuries, and Airway Management.
“These officers already have significant training. They are usually the ones providing instruction to other officers. So it was impressive to hear Sgt. Bosan say his team learned a lot today—this is the next level of training,” said Kieran O’Leary, public information officer from the Westchester County Department of Public Safety. “Active-shooter events from the Pulse night club to Parkland and Las Vegas remind us of the potential dangers we face, but this training improves our ability to provide the best care under the worst possible circumstances.”
The Center for Disaster Medicine has enjoyed sustained support from Westchester County and New York state executives, as well as business and healthcare leaders since its inception. Robert Amler, M.D., M.B.A., vice president of government affairs and dean of NYMC’s School of Health Sciences and Practice—who helped found the Center, invited these executives to preview the training. “This is an amazing day of training that would not have been possible without help from friends and officials from New York State, from Westchester County government and the many friends in law enforcement, in business, and in academia,” Dr. Amler said.
“New York Medical College and the Westchester County police are training for the difficult law enforcement challenges of tomorrow, and we are proud to support their efforts,” said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “This immersive training in disaster and military medicine techniques will enable them to serve New Yorkers in even greater capacities in the future.”
This training was made possible by funding awarded to the Center through the Empire State Development, NYSTAR Centers of Excellence Program. The Center for Disaster Medicine was designated a Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters in 2017 by the State of New York and receives annual support to conduct workforce-related training and direct services throughout the State. In addition to working with law enforcement, the Center has recently partnered with the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) to educate emergency department physicians on the management of patients following mass shooting and mass casualty events. The Center continuously works with its partners and stakeholders to provide timely and innovative education programs that utilize evidence-based approaches to increase the capacity of healthcare and emergency responders to meet the needs of the public following disasters, acts of terrorism, and public health emergencies.
New York Medical College
Founded in 1860, NYMC is one of the oldest and largest health sciences colleges in the country with more than 1,400 students, 1,300 residents and clinical fellows, nearly 3,000 faculty members, and 19,000 living alumni. The College, which joined the Touro College and University System in 2011, is located in Westchester County, New York, and offers degrees from the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences, the School of Health Sciences and Practice, a School of Dental Medicine and a School of Nursing. NYMC provides a wide variety of clinical training opportunities for students, residents, and practitioners.
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