Military and Tactical Ultrasound

Purpose: Support the continued effective utilization of Emergency Ultrasound in the military and tactical settings.

Hilary Harper, MD - Co-chair
Eric Chin, MD - Co-chair 

White Paper on Tactical Ultrasound

Ultrasound education, interest and utilization in the U.S. Military has grown dramatically over the past year. The Army has experienced the bulk of the growth, in a large part, due to the establishment of Emergency Ultrasound (EUS) Fellowship training programs at each of the three Emergency Medicine Residency Programs (Brooke Army Medical Center, Darnall Army Medical Center and Madigan Army Medical Center). The Ultrasound (US) programs at these institutions have instituted and/or strongly influenced the following tactical ultrasound developments throughout the Army:


ArmySpecial Forces:

Development of a standardized curriculum for Point of Care (POC) US education, privileging,and quality assurance among Army Special Forces providers. Privileging for POCUS applications applies to PA’s and physicians, in accordance with the 2008 ACEP Emergency Ultrasound Guidelines. As supervisors they will oversee utilization of the technology at the point of injury by Army Special Forces Medics (18D’s).

The EUS Fellowship programs teach POC US applications at the annual Special Operations Medical Association (SOMA) Educational Conference.

Army Special Forces Medics: Ongoing education of 18D’s through numerous POC US courses throughout the year, conducted by the EUS Fellowship programs.

Emergency Medicine Physician Assistants (EMPA’s):

Two of the EUS Fellowship Programs in the Army provide US education and direction for the Baylor/ U.S. Army Emergency Medicine Physician Assistant Fellowship programs (2 students / program, each training program is 18 months, each EMPA does a 2-4 week ultrasound rotation and often ultrasound related research).

At one of the EUS Fellowship Programs PA students (officer candidates) now receive a vertical US curriculum consisting of the core EUS modalities.  During their 24 months of training, they cover each modality twice with lecture and hands on labs. At the culmination of their training, they must pass the ACEP online test at www.emsono/acep and practical hands on exercises prior to graduation.

Medical Student US Education:

Oneof the Army EUS Fellowship Directors served on a tri-service informational panel at the 2011 WINFOCUS meeting on US Education, which provided information on current US use and utility, as well as current US training practices among the three services.

Two of the Army EUS Fellowship Programs offers and has hosted rotations for medical students of 2-4 weeks in duration.

All three of the Army EUS Fellowship programs functions as teaching faculty for the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS).

Critical Care Physicians: The Army Medical Command approved two, one-year fellowship positions for Critical Care Ultrasound starting in 2012. Two of the three Army EUS Fellowship programs will host these trainees. Each program will expand by one position to accommodate training for one Emergency Medicine physician and one for a Critical Care physician.

Pre-Deployment EUS education:  One of the EUS US programs provides 6 vascular access and EFAST one day courses per year at the Army’s Medical Command Center and School for doctors and physician’s assistants deploying to combat support hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Deployment ultrasound consultation service: This email service was developed by the Army Ultrasound Fellowship programs in 2010 for use by Army providers (physicians,PA’s, Medics) deployed to theaters of operations / austere environments /remote settings.

Government Services Symposium (GSS) ACEP EUS Course:

Basic and Advanced EUS education is provided annually by the three EUS fellowship programs at the national ACEP GSS. The 2012 EUS course was held at Lake Tahoe in April 2012.

The Army GSS EUS course is co-directed by two of the EUS fellowship directors and is used as a teaching and educational assessment tool of the Army EUS fellows in coordinating and “running” the course.

Baylor Pediatrics Residency/EM Fellowship – Army Collaboration

One EUS Fellowship has initiated discussions with the Baylor Pediatric Residency and Fellowship program to provide EUS lectures and education.

The goal is to advance Pediatric EUS and collaborate in future research with the possible development of a Pediatric EUS Fellowship Program.


Point of Contact information for the Army EUS FellowshipPrograms:

MAJ Shane Summers, M.D.

Fellowship Director, Emergency Ultrasound

Department of Emergency Medicine

Brooke Army Medical Center


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