twitter Tweet

Oregon Trauma System marks 30th anniversary with awards to improve rural trauma care

OHSU, Legacy distribute awards to boost trauma care beyond Portland
closeup of front of an ambulance
Patients who have a critical injury in rural areas are more likely to die or have bad outcomes, as those who are injured in urban areas. OHSU and Legacy Emanuel Medical Center have awarded grants for additional training and equipment in rural areas to improve trauma care across the state. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

Oregon’s two Level 1 trauma centers marked the 30-year anniversary of the statewide trauma system by distributing proceeds from a gala celebration to help rural first responders improve trauma care across the state.

Oregon Health & Science University and Legacy Emanuel Medical Center marked the anniversary by distributing four grants of $2,000 each.

Martin Schreiber, M.D. (2016)
Martin Schreiber, M.D.

“Rural trauma is a huge problem in the United States,” said Martin Schreiber, M.D., division head for trauma, critical care and acute care surgery in the OHSU School of Medicine. “Patients who suffer injuries in rural areas are twice as likely to die and have bad outcomes as those who are injured in urban areas. We are very excited about the opportunity to promote improvements in the quality of rural trauma care.”

Apart from the one-time awards, OHSU and Legacy are involved in other ongoing initiatives to improve trauma care in rural areas across Oregon. OHSU has given numerous free Stop the Bleed training courses around the state, in collaboration with Legacy Emanuel, as well as a one-day Rural Trauma Team Development Course for clinicians sponsored by the American College of Surgeons. 

“Being able to team up with OHSU to celebrate our 30th trauma anniversary and provide scholarships to support rural trauma initiatives was a rewarding opportunity,” said Carolann VinZant, B.S.N., RN, trauma program manager for Legacy Health. “Excellent rural trauma care is paramount to a healthy state trauma system and ensures consistent care and coordination of a patient’s trauma journey.

woman, hunched over a plastic leg, and learning to pack gauze into a wound
OHSU presents Stop the Bleed courses throughout the state where participants learn emergency response training, such as wound packing. This OHSU course was presented in 2019 for teachers and staff at Stephenson Elementary in Portland. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

“The grants we were able to provide will have a tangible impact to those providers to meet their mission and goals to their communities. Legacy Emanuel is proud to be a part of this impact and support for our rural trauma partners.”

The four awardees include:

  • Baker City Fire Rescue:  Baker City Fire Rescue is the only staffed, full-time paramedic provider in Baker County and responds to all mass casualty and rescues. The award will help to convert an ambulance to a mass casualty/rescue unit with specific response equipment, including fully stocked trauma medical bags, as well as additional medical equipment and personal protective equipment.
  • Blue Mountain Hospital, John Day:  Grant County covers 4,529 square miles and has a population of 7,176 people, which is a scant 1.6 persons per square mile. Much of the area is isolated and can be difficult to access due to remoteness or rough terrain. At times, it can take hours for emergency responders to reach injured patients. The proposed use of funds is to purchase basic Stop the Bleed kits to distribute to the volunteer Search and Rescue team, local law enforcement agencies who are not issued tourniquets, and community members after completion of Stop the Bleed training.
  • Colton Rural Fire Protection District No. 70:  The grant will purchase air splints to enhance the ability of the EMS staff and volunteers to respond to trauma calls and a Stop the Bleed Hemorrhage Training Kit. This training aid will assist personnel in training local residents in Stop the Bleed classes and assist in training fire/EMS responders in wound packing. 
  • North Gilliam Medic, Arlington: The award will enable the all-volunteer team of drivers and emergency medical technicians to attend a Pre-hospital Trauma Life Support course held locally, which could also draw in nearby agencies and their volunteers.

The Oregon Trauma System began with legislation signed in 1985 by then-Gov. Victor Atiyeh.

The system went into effect in 1988. Today it comprises a coordinated, four-tiered network of trauma centers, a trauma registry, a state advisory board, and seven area trauma advisory boards to implement and monitor trauma center activities.

OHSU and Emanuel, along with their associated children’s hospitals, OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and Randall Children’s Hospital, are the two designated Level 1 trauma centers for the state.

The awards distributed this month came out of excess proceeds generated by the 30th-anniversary celebration of the Oregon Trauma System. The four awards were selected from among 15 applications.

Previous Story OHSU announces Brain Awareness Season lecture series Next Story $1.6 million gift from Morris-Singer Foundation establishes COVID-19 hotline and telemedicine services for primary care
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube Instagram OHSU Braille services OHSU sign language services OHSU interpreter services