July 10, 2009

U.S. Department of the Air Force awards Wright State University $2.7 million

Award to support collaboration between USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, WSU's National Center for Medical Readiness

DAYTON, Ohio-Wright State University has received an award from the U.S. Department of the Air Force's (USAF) Air Force Research Laboratory to enhance collaboration between the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM) and WSU's National Center for Medical Readiness (NCMR). The award supports the development of the NCMR Tactical Laboratory, also known as Calamityville™, and provides education, research and development projects in disaster response and medical readiness.

USAFSAM, a component of the 711th Human Performance Wing headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is moving to Wright-Patterson as part of the planned Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. The $2.7 million project will run for 30 months.

The Primary Investigator is Glenn C. Hamilton, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine in the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. He will be assisted by a team of individuals from NCMR.

The project has five goals:

  • Develop effective methods for identifying patients who need medical and critical care treatment in disaster situations.
  • Identify needed civilian and military staffing requirements for community and health care facility evacuation.
  • Develop modeling technologies that will enable community health system, public health agency and emergency management leadership to appropriately identify, train and distribute Department of Defense (DoD) and non-DoD response forces in the event of a large-scale disaster.
  • Create a common operating structure, communication and procedure for a national medical response.
  • Cultivate a rapid multi-modal, distributed and in-residence training capability for medical staff around the nation.

"This collaboration offers a great example of the kinds of opportunities we have to partner with local universities and businesses in meeting Air Force needs as our USAFSAM mission transitions to Wright-Patterson," said Thomas S. Wells, 711 HPW director. "The military and civilian communities share an interest in medical readiness and NCMR offers a unique opportunity to work together to achieve a new level of disaster response and training capability for the Air Force and the nation."

USAFSAM provides worldwide response, consultation and training for chemical, biological and radiological health hazard needs in the areas of hazard mitigation, public health, contingency operations, epidemiologic surveillance, population health and hazard assessment.

"This project will serve as a model for defining and expanding our nation's civil and military response and cooperation," said Gebhart.

The National Center for Medical Readiness, previously known as the Homeland Emergency Learning and Preparedness (HELP) Center, was established in 2005 by the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine. Its purpose is to define and establish disaster-resilient health care communities within Ohio and the nation.

The NCMR is currently developing the Calamityville Tactical Laboratory Project, which is expected to bring 30 full-time jobs to the area and could generate as much as $75 million for the region. With more than $13 million in state and federal funding, the education and research facility will provide one-of-a-kind training opportunities for the world's medical, public health, public safety and civilian and military disaster response decision-makers.