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The PTS International Observership program is open for qualified foreign national members who wish to vist and observe certain clinical and educational activities of affiliated trauma centers for a short period of time.

Focus / Component of the program

The experience as an observer can include combined educative components depending on what the participant's interest is.

  1. Surgery Trauma Intensive Care Unit
  2. Trauma Systems / EMS
  3. Center for Trauma and Critical Care Education
  4. Performance Improvement Program
  5. Ultrasound in emergency and trauma
  6. Other

Current SPT Collaborative Partners / Host institutions

Within VCU:

  1. Department of Surgery, Division of Acute Care Surgical Services
  2. VCU Center for Trauma and Critical Care Education
  3. MCVH Performance Improvement Program
  4. VCU Center for Human Simulation and Patient Safety
  5. VCU Trauma Center
  6. International Trauma Systems Development Program (ITSDP)

In Richmond:

  1. Chesterfield Fire/EMS
  2. Richmond Ambulance Authority
  3. Life Evac

In the US:

  1. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (Pennsylvania)
  2. University of Maryland Medical Center, Shock Trauma Center

Outside US:

  1. Panamerican Trauma Society and its 18 affiliated Trauma, Critical Care, and Prehospital societies.
  2. "El Valle University" in Cali, Colombia

Sample Activities

Various activities are developed at the different host institutions including:

1. Trauma Surgery - ICU 

Observe critical care management of surgical critical care patients via ICU rounds, participate in discussions. The Observer will also participate in the weekly teaching seminars of the  Division of Trauma, Critical care and Emergency surgery.

2. Trauma Systems, EMS:  Center for Trauma & Critical Care Education (CTCCE)

At CTCCE the Observer has the opportunity to observe the various skills and  personnel needed for program planning and management, curriculum development  and program administration.  The observer will learn about  several different types of EMS systems in the commonwealth of Virginia including medical air services, and will ride with different rescue squads.   They will also participate in the trauma and EMS Training Programs and continuing  education programs conducted by CTCCE. The above skills and information is crucial for the organization and enhancement of EMS systems in international  settings.

3. Division of Trauma Performance Improvement Program (PIP) & the Trauma registry

The participant will get to observe the Performance Improvement/Trauma Registry Coordinator who utilizes clinical expertise to abstract data, assign abbreviated injury scores and identify, report and follow up on quality issues. The PIP/Registry Coordinator also analyzes data and develops reports for statistics, research, and planning. The Observer will gain insight into the importance of the trauma registry as a tool for trending data and separating out the trauma population for comparative analysis. The observer will learn the structure and operation of a Trauma Medical Audit Committee and learn the value of developing a peer review committee analysis of preventable pre-hospital and in-hospital factors contributing to trauma deaths.

4. Ultrasound in Emergency & Trauma

In addition, the rotation can be focused on emergency and trauma ultrasound training under the leadership of Dr. Paula Ferrada, with emphasis on echocardiogram and FAST of critically ill patients.


Learn about a recent observer's experiences:

Podcast (Spanish)

NOTE: This is for Observation only:
This program is strictly observational. A participant shall in no way be permitted to actively participate in patient care or direct contact, examination, research or other work during his/her observership.

Contact Information

  • If you wish to participate as a host center, please notify the ITSDP/VCU Coordinator of who the observership program coordinator is for that institution or center.
  • Participants who wish to observe activities at VCU, please contact the ITSDP Observership Coordinator for more information and requirements.
  • Observers who wish to observe activities at other participating institutions (other than VCU), please contact the ITSDP Coordinator, who will provide the contact information for that institution.

For more information Contact to: 

Nancy Valencia Email: 

Phone: (804)828.8576 | FAX: (804) 628-4861

Web site:

Division of Acute Care Surgical Services

Department of Surgery

Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Medicine

Box 980454

Richmond, VA 23298-0454

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