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AETC office supports AF medical training mission

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- Medical education in the Air Force experienced a transformation six years ago with the establishment of Air Force Medical Modeling and Simulation Training, or AFMMAST.

Based at the Air Education and Training Command here, the AFMMAST central program office, or CPO, is the hub of that initiative.

"The central program office is responsible for the assessment, development and execution of medical modeling and simulation processes to facilitate training across the Air Force enterprise," said, Col. (Dr.) Meletios Fotinos, the AFFMAST CPO medical modernization chief.

"We're the organization that provides cradle-to-grave support to enhance education and training for all aspects of health care," he said.

According to program officials, the AFMMAST mission is to develop and use advanced learning technologies and methodologies to improve medical education and training for health care teams and patients, for the purpose of improving health care outcomes. This is carried out at simulation centers throughout the Air Force, including the 59th Medical Wing Simulation Center at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, and at the Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis Medical Readiness Training Center, Texas

Fotinos said AFMMAST was stood up at the direction of the Air Force surgeon general to lay the foundation to enhance education and training capabilities for the future.

"The initial effort was to inventory existing equipment and develop a standardized process to ensure cost-effective, training objective-driven equipment purchases," he said. "In addition, the AFMMAST program strived to develop standardized processes to systematically identify training requirements and training tools to address these gaps."

Fotinos said education and training is in a transformational era because technological advances have opened up training to include computer-based training, interactive virtual environments and self-assessment tools to measure an individual's progress in reaching a goal.

"Medical modeling and simulation training tools allow us to provide a variety of training modalities to engage users in the acquisition of knowledge, the development of psychomotor skills to perform tasks, and the ability to effectively communicate in team settings in providing integrated care to our patients," he said. "In addition, modeling and simulation allows us to develop training to focus on high-risk, low-volume conditions in which teams can practice so they can respond more effectively when they occur in the 'real world.'"

Fotinos called the CPO the "integration unit" that brings expertise to enhance the learning experience. It provides guidance on simulation center operations, training, acquisition of equipment and support on any technical issues. Its areas of responsibility comprise of resource management, logistics, operations, information technology, research and development, and curriculum development.

"We've grown to 47 contract professionals at 21 sites around the globe," said Ruben Garza, the AFMMAST CPO medical modernization administrator.

The central program office oversees funding, contracting and procurement of equipment, Garza said. AFMMAST has $42 million in its simulation equipment inventory and a budget of $3.5 million per year for purchases.

"We're training our medics to better take care of our warfighters and beneficiaries," Fotinos said. "We strive to provide the best service to meet the mission at the lowest cost."

More information on AFMMAST and available training courses can be found at http://www.afmmast.mil.

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