TEAM to Continue at Grady with New Educators

January 2014

The patient is unconscious, his face smeared with blood. An attending surgeon scans the trauma team gathered around the gurney. "Time is flying, people," she says. "Where do we start?" Two team members respond simultaneously. The attending raises her hand. "One at a time," she says.

This is a classroom, not a trauma bay. The patient is an actor encircled by a group of medical students, and the attending is Dr. Barbara Pettitt, director of medical student education for the Emory Department of Surgery. The course is Trauma Evaluation and Management, or TEAM, which was developed by the Advanced Trauma Life Support Committee of the ACS Committee on Trauma. TEAM is structured to introduce the concepts of trauma assessment and management to medical students during their clinical years. The course is offered once per term for Emory M3 students at Grady Memorial Hospital, the home of one of Georgia's finest Level I trauma centers.

Dr. Pettitt initiated TEAM at Grady in 2002 with former Emory trauma/surgical critical care surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Salomone. Emory trauma fellows also assist with the instruction. For the didactic portion of the class, case examples from the instructors' own experiences are discussed and ACS-produced PowerPoint presentations and videos depicting both appropriate and incorrect approaches to trauma care are reviewed. Afterwards, the students break into small groups and conduct initial injury and condition assessments of patients played by actors that have been transformed by a makeup artist to exhibit bruises, cuts, and other typical signs of trauma.

Dr. Pettitt has taught the course for 11 years. Following the arrival of several new trauma and surgical critical care faculty at Grady over the past two years and Dr. Salomone's departure in April 2013 to be chief of trauma/surgical critical care at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix, she decided that now was the time to transition TEAM to new educators. "The new faculty are very interested in becoming involved with medical student education, and leading the TEAM course is an excellent way to kick off that type of interaction," she says. "As of the next course on March 5, Dr. Anu Subramanian and Dr. Stacy Dougherty will begin running the class."

Dr. Dougherty joined the Department of Surgery in 2013 after completing her general surgery residency at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. She also did her surgical critical care fellowship at Wake Forest. "When the word got around that I was looking for new teachers for TEAM, Dr. Dougherty was one of the first people to contact me," says Dr. Pettitt. "Her desire to be involved combined with her firm grasp of the tried and true principles of decisive trauma surgery, emergency general surgery, and surgical critical care will make her an excellent guide for medical students as they move through this introduction."

Dr. Subramanian completed her trauma/surgical critical care fellowship at Grady in 2007, after which she joined the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. She returned to Grady in 2012 to be associate director of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit and associate program director of the Trauma/Surgical Critical Care Fellowship, and was promoted to medical director of Grady's SICU in March 2013.

"I was the director of medical student education for three years for the Department of Surgery when I was at Baylor. But in my positions here at Emory, I haven't been able to consistently work with medical students," say Dr. Subramanian. "Teaching the TEAM course will allow me to use my enthusiasm for and experience in the acuity of trauma to show medical students how wonderful and fulfilling a career in surgery can be."

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