University of Chicago to train Army doctors, nurses at South Side trauma center

Up to 30 surgeons and other providers will train with U. of C. each year as part of a government program.

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The University of Chicago opened its trauma center in May 2018.

Provided/Photo by Rob Hart

The University of Chicago will train U.S. Army surgeons, nurses and other emergency care specialists at its South Side trauma center as part of an initiative announced this week. 

The Army has been partnering with trauma centers around the country through a government program started in 2019, and the U. of C. joins seven others, including those operated by teaching hospitals in New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon and Tennessee.

Lt. Col. Timothy Plackett, a trauma surgeon who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, has already begun work at the Hyde Park trauma center. He’s the commander of a medical unit stationed in Fort Bragg in North Carolina that will begin sending medical personnel to Chicago later this year. 

“We’re learning best practices from one another and using what’s been learned in Iraq and Afghanistan to directly change the care we’re providing on the South Side,” Plackett said in a statement. “The care we’ll be providing on the South Side will directly change the care we’ll be able to provide when our team is deployed.”

Plackett, a Lisle native who attended Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in Downers Grove, trained at South Side and South Suburban hospitals, including Provident Hospital, Advocate Christ Medical Center and the former Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center.

The South Side experiences a large number of shootings in the city. Sun-Times reporting shows there have been 865 shooting victims citywide in Chicago so far this year. 

When it opened in May 2018, the U. of C. site became the first Level I adult trauma center on Chicago’s South Side in almost 30 years. Michael Reese stopped offering trauma care in early 1990. Prior to that, U. of C. stopped trauma care in 1988, which outraged members of the South Side community. 

Contributing: David Struett

Brett Chase’s reporting on the environment and public health is made possible by a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.

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