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US Navy and Cook County Health Expand Training Partnership

06 October 2022


Today, the U.S. Navy and Cook County Health announced an expansion of their partnership to train Naval medical providers and support clinical care at John H. Stroger Jr., Hospital.“I’m excited to build upon the great partnership Navy Medicine has formed with Cook County,” said Rear Admiral Bruce Gillingham, US Navy Surgeon General. “The experiences
Today, the U.S. Navy and Cook County Health announced an expansion of their partnership to train Naval medical providers and support clinical care at John H. Stroger Jr., Hospital.

“I’m excited to build upon the great partnership Navy Medicine has formed with Cook County,” said Rear Admiral Bruce Gillingham, US Navy Surgeon General. “The experiences our military doctors, nurses, and corpsmen receive here not only helps out the local Chicago community, it ensures we have an expertly-trained Naval medical force that can take care of our deployed Sailors and Marines. The stakes are high: On a Sailor’s or Marine’s worst day, we must be at our best.”

The Navy and Cook County Health first began their partnership in 2013 when Naval surgeons from Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago began coming to Stroger Hospital to train in trauma care. The first Navy corpsman trauma training program began at Stroger Hospital in 2014. In the years since, Navy officer and enlisted medical professionals have continued to do rotations through the hospital’s trauma unit.

“It is an honor to collaborate with the Navy and provide essential training to men and women in uniform,” said Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Board President. “These partnerships enrich both of our teams and improve our ability to serve those who rely on us.”

Under the expanded partnership, a Navy Expeditionary Resuscitative Surgical System (ERSS) team will work at Stroger Hospital on 3-year deployable orders. The first 9-month rotation began the first week of October 2022. At the conclusion of the initial rotation, the ERSS team will participate in additional training at the Naval Expeditionary Medical Training Institute (NEMTI) and then be deployed. After deployment, the ERSS team will return to Stroger to sustain their skills, continue to work as trauma team, and be ready for additional deployment when called upon until the conclusion of their orders.

“Navy Medicine and Readiness Training Command Great Lakes (NMRTC GL), the Navy command co-located at Lovell Federal Health Care Center, is charged with providing operational training and ensuring readiness of active-duty Navy Medicine personnel,” said Captain Chad McKenzie, Commanding Officer of NMRTC GL and Deputy Director of Lovell FHCC.

“With the expansion of this agreement, the John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County has reinforced their commitment and support of our mission and our troops. The partnership that has existed between Lovell FHCC, the Navy, and Cook County since 2013 has saved lives and benefitted all involved. Expanding on this partnership will save future lives on the battlefield. This expanded agreement will once again raise the benchmark for what Navy Medicine training should look like.”

Three ERSS teams are slated to rotate through Stroger Hospital on a phased plan (one team of 7 each year from 2022 to 2024. An ERSS team is comprised of a General Surgeon, an Emergency Medicine Physician, a Physician Assistant, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, a Critical Care or Emergency Room Nurse, a Respiratory Therapy Technician, and a Surgical Technician. In addition to the deployable ERSS team, a cadre of three embedded Navy and full-time staff, including a Trauma Surgeon, Perioperative Nurse, and Healthcare Administrator, will remain to sustain the partnership at Cook County Health, work together with the ERSS team, and sustain their individual skillsets. This represents the first Navy program that provides an entire ERSS team an extended opportunity to train together at the same civilian facility prior to deployment. Not every ERSS team will go through this partnership as there is Navy Medicine specific training that also prepares ERSS teams for deployments.

The trauma unit at Stroger Hospital has more than 4,000 activations annually. Approximately 25 percent of those cases include penetrating trauma, most commonly gun or knife injuries.

“In decades past, many advancements in trauma care were made by the armed forces in wartime and then shared with civilian providers,” said Dr. Faran Bokhari, Chair of Trauma and Burn Services at Cook County Health. “In recent years, as US conflicts have decreased, civilian providers responding to gun violence and other injuries have become a resource for branches of the armed forces. By embedding Navy providers in our hospital, they can keep their skills sharp for deployment and we can benefit from their expertise and support.”

In addition to working in the trauma unit, the ERSS teams will be assigned to their respective clinical departments within Stroger Hospital to support clinical services across the facility and maximize the providers’ time and learning opportunities.


About Cook County Health
One of the largest public health systems in the nation, Cook County Health (CCH) serves as the safety-net for health care in Chicago and suburban Cook County. CCH is comprised of two hospitals, a robust network of more than a dozen community health centers, the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center, the Cook County Department of Public Health, Correctional Health Services, which provides health care to individuals at the Cook County Jail and the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, and CountyCare, a Medicaid managed care health plan. Through the health system and the health plan, CCH cares for more than 500,000 individuals each year, and its physicians are experts in their fields, committed to providing their patients with comprehensive, compassionate and cutting-edge care. Today, CCH is transforming the provision of health care in Cook County by promoting community-based primary and preventive care, growing an innovative, collaborative health plan, and enhancing the patient experience.

About Navy Medicine
Navy Medicine provides well-trained people, working as expeditionary medical experts on optimized platforms operating as cohesive teams demonstrating high reliability performance to project medical power in support of Naval Superiority. Navy Medicine personnel are grouped into six Corps. They are Medical Corps, Dental Corps, Nurse Corps, Medical Service Corps, Hospital Corps and Civilian Corps. The US Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) is the headquarters for Navy Medicine and issues policy regarding the development and practices of Navy Medicine as well as collaborating with our sister services and the Defense Health Agency. BUMED is directly responsible for the Navy personnel at Military Treatment Facilities, our medical research commands and our medical training and support commands. Navy Medicine personnel assigned to ships, submarines, aviation squadrons, Special Forces units, Marine battalions and other operational positions report to their operational commands while assigned to those units. Navy Medicine supports the warfighter, projecting medical power to enhance survivability of our forces, to sustain US Naval superiority.

About NMRTC Great Lakes and the Lovell FHCC: The Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center is the nation’s only fully integrated medical facility between the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. Navy Medicine and Readiness Training Command Great Lakes (NMRTC GL) is the Navy command co-located at Lovell Federal Health Care Center. Lovell FHCC serves active duty military personnel, their families, and veterans. Lovell FHCC, which is in North Chicago, operates four Naval Station Great Lakes clinics and three community-based outpatient clinics in McHenry and Evanston, Ill. and Kenosha, Wis.
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