UND gets $5 million grant to train rural medics, ERsA $5 million grant to the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences will allow emergency responders in rural areas to receive state-of-the-art training without traveling to major health care centers.
A $5 million grant to the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences will allow emergency responders in rural areas to receive state-of-the-art training without traveling to major health care centers.
The university announced Thursday the donation from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, which will be used to install four mobile training vehicles, one each Grand Forks, Fargo, Minot and Bismarck.
The 44-foot-long vehicles will each include a simulated emergency room, a simulated ambulance and a simulation control center, according to Dr. Jon Allen, director of a medical simulation center based at UND called ND STAR.
Each vehicle costs around $444,000.
A nurse and two paramedics will staff each vehicle, bringing training to rural emergency units and hospitals, Allen said. They will likely be on the road two to four days a week, even more in the busy Oil Patch, he said.
The vehicles and their staff will be part of ND STAR’s Simulation in Motion-North Dakota program. SIM-ND has been training students and medical professionals since 2007, after getting a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. The program was always meant to go statewide.
“We now have the opportunity to get the training out to them,” said Allen. “They wanted us to get out to all corners of North Dakota. We’ve been working on it and this is absolutely perfect for what our mission is.”
A similar program started two years ago in South Dakota, where it’s allowed busy people to go about their daily lives and still get trained, said Walter Panzirer, a Helmsley Charitable Trust representative.
“We saw so many volunteer departments that had to drive 4 to 5 hours for training,” he said. “We’ve brought it to them. The farmers, shop owners and teachers, they don’t have time. We hope this builds a stronger type of training.”
The Helmsley foundation has given $34.8 million in rural healthcare grants in North Dakota, according to the foundation. Grants in the seven Upper Midwest states make up 25 percent of its budget.
The Helmsley grant will fund SIM-ND initially, but UND and the state Department of Health will eventually take over when the three-year grant expires.
ND STAR is known for its realistic human simulators, mannequins ranging from children to pregnant women, who can mimic breathing and other physiological processes, according to Allen.
The SIM-ND vehicles will take those simulators on the road.
UND med school Dean Joshua Wynne compared the benefits of training with medical simulators for emergency responders to training with aircraft simulators for pilots.
“There hasn’t been a fatality in a U.S. passenger plane in three years,” he said. “The same benefits are likely to be seen in medicine.”
The other grant
Also on Thursday, UND said its med school won a $5.1 million five-year grant from the National Institute of Health.
The money will go to the Center of Biomedical Research Excellence, which studies neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
It’s about half of the previous two five-year grants UND has received. The university used those grants to hire faculty, buy equipment and fund studies.
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