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First responder training program planned for region

In the next month, Dr. Dinesh Vyas of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center of the Permian Basin plans to start a trainer-trainee program so people can help reduce mortality rates in remote work areas or accident scenes.

Vyas, who is an associate professor, associate dean surgery research, associate program director at Texas Tech Health Sciences, said he will start training volunteers when he returns from a training mission to India in January. The goal is to train 2,000 to 4,000 first responders in the next two to three years.

Vyas is seeking truck drivers who travel through the area a lot, people in the oil industry, at local gas stations and in rural health care who want to learn.

“Most of the rural places in Texas and other states lack the adequate training to handle on site accidents. To minimize further complications when those happen, the First Responder Training Program was designed to train in basic emergency care. It is a unique program, very successfully implemented in developing countries in which distance and/or communication to emergency medical centers is a problem. West Texas will certainly benefit from this valuable training that aims at reducing workers complications after accidents,” said Dr. Gary Ventolini, Regional Dean of TTUHSC at the Permian Basin School of Medicine.

Having just recently moved to Odessa, Vyas hopes to meet local leaders to discuss who wants to train and support for the idea. He hopes to speak at the Odessa Chamber of Commerce soon to further explain the idea.

Vyas devised the trainer-trainee program eight or nine years ago after seeing the aftermath of many accidents in India where the mortality rate was needlessly high. He did research on West Texas and traveled from Odessa to San Antonio avoiding main highways.

Related: First responders often unprepared for derailments

On some of the highways, he said, there is no communication. The same is true in areas of North Dakota and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Vyas feels it’s his duty to make good on his training, education and upbringing and finances much his missions mostly on his own. This includes providing medical kits to trainees.

“You don’t have the resources to train everybody as paramedics,” Vyas said. “It takes time and money. A lot of places can’t afford it. That’s problem in North Dakota and Upper Michigan.”

The training goes in phases ranging from videos and massive open online courses to hands-on training. He said the lessons have to be tailored according to an area’s needs and language and be put into context people can understand.

“If I talk about a tsunami in the desert, that won’t help,” Vyas said. The training includes taking care of a patient at the scene, how to transport the patient from a scene, and collaboration with hospital administration.

Vyas said he and fellow doctors who have joined him travels to “one country or another” three or four times and he conducts assessments on the progress trainees have made. The assessments are on comprehension, competence and outcomes.

A pre-test is conducted before the training to see where trainees are and then participants take a post-test to see gauge competency and confidence. A skill session is then conducted where the trainer records everything so volunteers can see what they did correctly and incorrectly, Vyas said.

“That helps them work on their mistakes very quickly rather than waiting until something wrong happens,” Vyas said. “That is an opportunity for us to fix the problem.”

Vyas said his team returns three to six months later to retrain participants and study the outcomes and information retention. A mock drill also is conducted for a dose of reality.

Vyas said he will use simulation mannequins from Medical Center Hospital’s simulation lab as part of the training because they mimic human illness, injury and sound.

“The next generation of first responders have to be not only technically sound, they have to be emotionally sound … (and) should be sound enough to take care of the problem because when the problem comes and the trauma, sometimes the stress from trauma may make them less efficient. If we don’t prepare them from all the psychological, educational concepts and don’t test them in a mock drill, they don’t apply their knowledge,” Vyas said.

Although he has only been at Texas Tech for about two months, Vyas has large ambitions.

“I wanted to build a strong research, clinical and basic science here. That’s my strength,” he said. “I was trained at Washington University and the University of Pittsburgh. These are the big programs in research, both clinical and basic science research. We wanted to build on the needs we have here, plus we will do the research.”

(c)2015 the Odessa American (Odessa, Texas)

This article was written by Ruth Campbell from Odessa American, Texas and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.