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Col (Ret) Donald Jenkins, MD– Air Force Trauma Surgeon leading the way with the Joint Trauma System

Col (Dr.) Donald Jenkins is a Trauma Surgeon at UT Health San Antonio, who deployed multiple times to the Middle East with the Air Force during his 25-year career on active duty. His research efforts have helped bring whole blood transfusions to the battlefield and to emergency medical systems stateside. With the development of the Joint Trauma System, he was able to use real-time data to help improve the care of injured soldiers and pass these lessons along to the healthcare providers that followed. After his military service, he was able to use his skillsets to serve as the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma Performance Improvement committee chair.

In this episode, he describes what his deployment to Iraq was like as the Trauma Medical Director, in charge of all medical care for the theater, and the challenges that they faced at that point in the war. He also discusses his role as the Trauma Director of the Joint Theater System just a year later where he was in charge of the trauma care for both Iraq and Afghanistan and discusses the unique challenges each theater faced. He provides a behind-the-scenes account of the development and implementation of the Joint Trauma System and how he and Dr. Holcomb plowed through bureaucracy to make this Joint Forces project come to be what it is today. We also dive into how the Joint Trauma System led to the development of the evidenced-based Clinical Practice Guidelines that are still used today.

Don shares many insights, combat care innovations, and leadership lessons over a distinguished career. You don’t want to miss this episode!

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