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Who Will Save Trauma Patients in South Korea?

Published: Tuesday, 06 Nov 2018
Author: VIPP
Department: Visiting International Professional Program

MSU's VIPP Helps South Korea's Nationwide Trauma Care Reform 

MSU's Visiting International Professional Program (VIPP) organized a professional development workshop in Michigan and Maryland for 20 trauma doctors and public officials from South Korea. Delegation met the Maryland State Police whose helicopters transport injured victims to the hospital. 

South Korean trauma care reform is one of the most important government agendas today. The Korea Ministry of Personnel Management turned to MSU's Visiting International Professional Program (VIPP) for its expertise in government training program. From October 15th to October 23rd, 2018, VIPP organized a nine-day training workshop for 20 trauma doctors and public officials from South Korea. The delegation visited three Level 1 trauma centers across America, including Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, University of Michigan Medical Center, and University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, to benchmark the U.S. trauma care system.

"I feel privileged to develop this workshop for South Korea. The public and government have strong interests in improving the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of the South Korean EMS (Emergency Medical Services) and trauma care system. VIPP is proud to develop this high-impact workshop and expand MSU's global outreach to South Korea to help save lives around the world," says Dr. Mina Shin, VIPP's Assistant Director, who managed the program. According to statistics by South Korea's Ministry of Health and Welfare, more than 30 percent of people who suffered fatal trauma injuries last year could have survived if they had access to proper and timely treatment. This is higher than the United States and other developed countries. The goal is to lower the preventable death rate by improving the comprehensive trauma care system and infrastructure.

Daehyun Kang, Lieutenant Colonel/ Emergency Physician from The Armed Forces Medical Command from South Korea was interviewed by the WLNS-TV news during visit to Sparrow Hospital. The coverage received over two million views (

In Lansing, Michigan, the delegation visited Sparrow Hospital and Meridian Township Fire Department to understand the comprehensive patient care process from pre-hospital stage to hospital definitive care. The visit to Sparrow was featured on the WLNS-TV news ( The delegates met with Dr. John Kepros, Director of Sparrow Trauma Center as well as Associate Professor of Surgery at MSU. He introduced the organizational structure of Sparrow's trauma care, verification process by American College of Surgeon (ACS), and evidence based practices.

At University of Michigan, a flight nurse of Survival Flight explained the operation of three university owned helicopters.

In Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Korean delegation met the Acute Care Surgery and Trauma Care team at University of Michigan (UM) Medical Center and toured its Trauma Burn Intensive Care Unit facilities. UM owns and operates three helicopters and one jet to provide rapid and safe transport of critically ill and injured patients. South Korea operates similar air medical services and aims to expand, but it still has many challenges to fully reach its goals. 

The delegation flew to Maryland to visit University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, the Nation's first trauma hospital. Its founder, Dr. R Adams Cowley, is considered the pioneer of trauma care and coined the concept of the Golden Hour, which describes the first 60 minutes definitive care following injury is crucial to trauma patients' survival. The Korean delegation met the medical staff and government officials, toured facilities, and attended simulation training. The Korean trauma doctors teamed up and operated on a gunshot wound patient. 

Korean trauma doctors simulated treating a gunshot wounds patient at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. 


"It was great to receive a hands-on training and use real equipment and facilities. It was also amazing how simulation replicates the real comprehensive process of trauma care from admission-resuscitation-surgery-ICU," says Seokho Choi, Director of Dankook University Hospital Trauma Center. He continued, "This program allowed us to visit three different sizes of hospitals in two different States. It was helpful for us to see the differences and learn each hospital has its own unique strength. It shows how the U.S. trauma care is localized and run differently."  The VIPP workshop provided a great opportunity for the Korean delegation to learn about principles, policies, and practices of trauma care in the U.S., and to connect with American healthcare providers and government officials. Delegates returned home with new ideas, practical knowledge and deeper understanding of trauma care to advance its trauma care system. Who will advance trauma care in the world? Spartans Will.