A trauma center in Chicago that treats over 6,000 patients every year, many with life-threatening wounds, is about to become a permanent hub for hands-on training for Navy hospital corpsman preparing for combat zones.

The Navy began this pilot program at Stroger Hospital on Chicago’s West Side in 2014, rotating newly enlisted hospital corpsmen and those needing a refresher for six- to eight-week stints.

And beginning this spring, the service is preparing to expand it into an official training rotation, according to Wall Street Journal.

Immersion into Stroger’s oftentimes hectic environment prepares corpsmen for trauma and teaches valuable protocol and procedures they can replicate in the battlefield.

In the past, “the first time a corpsman got any trauma experience was when they were deployed, and some would just freeze up,” Captain Paul Roach, a Navy surgeon at the Lovell Federal Health Care Center north of Chicago, told WSJ. “We don’t want that to happen anymore.”

Roughly 30% of patients at Stroger Hospital are admitted to the trauma ward with wounds from firearms, compared to 4.2% national average for level 1 trauma centers, according to WSJ. Above, a simulated exercise at the Medical Education and Training Campus onboard Joint Base San Antonio - Fort Sam Houston, Texas. (PO1 Jacquelyn D. Childs/Navy)
Roughly 30% of patients at Stroger Hospital are admitted to the trauma ward with wounds from firearms, compared to 4.2% national average for level 1 trauma centers, according to WSJ. Above, a simulated exercise at the Medical Education and Training Campus onboard Joint Base San Antonio - Fort Sam Houston, Texas. (PO1 Jacquelyn D. Childs/Navy)

The program at Stroger Hospital is part of a new DoD push to prioritize civilian and military partnerships, according to WSJ, and was budgeted for in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.