UC Health and Air Force Expand C-STARS Simulation Center, Redefining Global Medical Excellence

Setting New Standards for Critical Care Air Transport Team Training, Ensuring Rapid Response in Combat and Civilian Emergencies

CINCINNATI, June 4, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — UC Health and the Air Force’s 711th Human Performance Wing of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) announce a groundbreaking expansion and enhancement of the Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills (C-STARS) program at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

This transformative $10 million initiative confirms the partnership’s commitment to preparing Air Force medical personnel to deliver critical care worldwide. This expansion equips them to excel in both combat and civilian emergencies and advances Critical Care Air Transport (CCAT) standards.

“This investment underscores our commitment to continuous improvement and readiness in aeromedical evacuation and critical patient care, ensuring we can respond to medical emergencies globally,” stated Col. Tory Woodard, commander of the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM). “These military-civilian relationships are critical to our nation, helping train our medics and sustain the skills needed for our operational missions. This expansion helps us prepare for the next generation of aeromedical evacuation and critical patient care.”

Building on a Legacy of Collaborative Training
Col. Valerie Sams, MD, director of C-STARS Cincinnati and University of Cincinnati Medical Center’s Division of Trauma and Critical Care, United States Air Force, reinforced the significant impact of this expansion. “Our partnership with UC Health and the Air Force has delivered impressive results in training military medical personnel,” says Col. Sams, a volunteer associate professor in the Department of Surgery at the UC College of Medicine. “This expansion further enhances our training programs, ensuring the Air Force remains prepared to deliver expert medical care globally.”

Expanding Training Capabilities
Through cutting-edge simulation technology and immersive environments, the program will empower medical personnel to excel in high-stress scenarios and deliver expert care to critically injured patients, anywhere.

The new state-of-the-art simulation center will modernize readiness training, incorporating high-fidelity manikins, immersive VR simulations, and data-driven performance analysis. It will allow the training of 300 CCAT teams annually, compared to 108 currently, ensuring the Air Force can respond effectively to future conflicts and mass casualty events.

Deepening Engagement
Through joint research and educational outreach, it seeks to strengthen bonds between military and civilian healthcare professionals, enriching the broader healthcare ecosystem. C-STARS is part of the UC Institute for Military Medicine in the Department of Surgery at the UC College of Medicine.

Celebrating Two Decades of Partnership
UC Health marks two decades of military-civilian collaboration, hosting the C-STARS program since 2002. This partnership has offered vital training for military medical personnel and spurred innovation in the local healthcare system. With nearly 5,000 professionals trained, C-STARS enhances Air Force readiness for combat and peacetime missions, as well as civilian disaster relief efforts.

The C-STARs program expansion has received the support of local leaders, including:

  • Rep. Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M: “During my time as a surgeon in Iraq, CCAT ensured that the work we did in theater was completed at our bases in Germany, and back in the US, saving the lives of so many service members. By investing in the already successful partnership between Wright Patterson Air Force Base and UC Health, we can make this program the model for any high-level national response, while also improving the training programs for our service members so they are best prepared for the high-intensity operational mission.”

  • Rep. Greg Landsman, OH-01: “This expansion demonstrates UC Health’s leadership in medical training and the impactful work happening in the region. Our medical military employees deserve comprehensive training to deal with any critical situation. By expanding their education using cutting-edge technology, our service members will be able to provide the highest quality care.”

To learn more, visit www.uchealth.com/education/c-stars/ and www.afresearchlab.com.

About UC Health
UC Health is an integrated academic health system serving the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region. In partnership with the University of Cincinnati, UC Health combines clinical expertise and compassion with research and teaching – a combination that provides patients with options for even the most complex situations. Learn more at www.uchealth.com.

About AFRL
AFRL is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 12,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. Learn more at www.afresearchlab.com.

Alex Lolli
Sr. Marketing and Communication Consultant
UC Health



See attached for photos. Please credit UC Health.