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Nevada Air Guard teams with Reno hospital for medical training

Helen Lidholm (left), CEO of St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center here in Reno, and Col. Shanna Woyak, 152nd Medical Group Commander, sign a Training Affiliation Agreement (TAA) between the 152nd Medical Group and St. Mary’s.  The TAA will allow medical technicians from the 152nd Med Group to perform hands-on medical training, under staff supervision, at St. Mary's.  U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jason Yuhasz. (RELEASED)

Helen Lidholm (left), CEO of St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center here in Reno, and Col. Shanna Woyak, 152nd Medical Group Commander, sign a Training Affiliation Agreement (TAA) between the 152nd Medical Group and St. Mary’s. The TAA will allow medical technicians from the 152nd Med Group to perform hands-on medical training, under staff supervision, at St. Mary's. U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Jason Yuhasz. (RELEASED)

RENO --      Officials from the Nevada Air Guard and St. Mary's Regional Medical Center signed an agreement here in October that allows Airmen to train alongside civilian health care workers at one of northern Nevada's most advanced medical facilities.
    
     The mutually beneficial agreement allows Airmen to refine their military medical technician skills while providing St. Mary's additional personnel resources.

     Twenty-six Airmen attended the first joint training session in early October. While participating in the joint training at St. Mary's, the Airmen are compensated by the National Guard and fulfill their military training obligations. Common tasks performed by the military medical techs will likely include: recording patients' vital signs, administering intravenous therapy, recording electrocardiograms, drawing blood and suturing wounds. All training will be supervised by the St. Mary's staff.

     Col. Shanna Woyak, the commander of the 152nd Medical Group, and Helen Lidholm, the CEO of St. Mary's Regional Medical Center, were the officials who signed the training affiliation agreement on behalf of their respective organizations. 152nd medical technicians will now begin to train with St. Mary's personnel in their respective medical fields.

     "It's a great opportunity for a strong collaboration between St. Mary's and the Nevada Air Guard," Lidholm said. "This is good for both the military and the local community. I'm glad the Nevada Guard chose to work with St. Mary's."

     The steps toward an agreement began more than one year ago when Nevada Air Guard Maj. Eric Stringer, a medical plans and operations officer, received suggestions from some of his troops for hands-on training for their military jobs. Stringer previously worked for U.S. Africa Command.

     "Several of our young Airmen who were med techs asked for additional hands-on training opportunities," Stringer said.

     The training at St. Mary's promises to give 152nd personnel, supervised by St. Mary's staff, their requested hands-on training.

     Woyak agreed with Lidholm.

     "This will provide an excellent opportunity for Guard personnel," Woyak said.  "This is a great opportunity for our Airmen to keep their skills sharp."

     Stringer said there are many mutually beneficial aspects of the TAA.

     "The military med techs will be trained and qualified to work at St. Mary's in the event of a natural or man-made disaster, which is especially important if the resources at St. Mary's become overwhelmed.  Our med techs, once we're approved by state headquarters and the Joint Operations Center, can step in and assist with medical triage and other areas within the hospital," Stringer said.

     Stringer also said the training agreement will speed the certification of 152nd technicians.
    
     "They'll receive hands-on experience in a timely manner and meet their requisite qualifications quickly," Stringer said.