USAISR Staff Integral Members of American Burn Association
U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center staff attended the American Burn Association's 46th annual meeting in Boston to share information on advances in burn care, March 25-28.
Several USAISR staff presented key information on burn care at the event by presenting or moderating plenary and poster sessions. Some individuals even garnered special recognition for their work.
Clinical Research Coordinator, Reginald "Reg" L. Richard received the Burke/Yannas Bioengineering Best Paper award for his manuscript, "Hierarchical Decomposition of Burn Body Diagram Based on Cutaneous Functional Units and Its Utility," and Research Nurse Coordinator Nicole Caldwell earned the "Best in Category" award for her poster titled, "Pathogenic Bacteria on Common Access and Identification Cards: A Search for Badge Bugs." A further honor, USAISR Systems of Care for Complex Patients Task Area Manager Lt. Col. Elizabeth Mann-Salinas was appointed to chair the ABA's committee on technology.
"I am very pleased and proud with our performance and contributions to the ABA meeting," said USAISR Burn Center Director Col. (Dr.) Booker T. King. "It all speaks highly of the people here and the work that we've submitted."
Discussing his presentation, Richard said that the current burn and degree of burn mapping system in use at burn centers has not changed in more than 70 years. Richard compared the hierarchical decomposition system for mapping burns and estimating the total body surface of a burned area to the U.S. postal zip code structure in his paper.
"The hierarchical decomposition breaks it down to smaller subcomponents which help us determine the type of rehab needed to the area of the body that is burned," he said. "This allows us to concentrate on doing more rehab to specific areas which can minimize scar contracture. A burn wound begins to heal itself right after the burn process stops. If we know where to concentrate the rehab then the outcome will be better."
Reflecting on his work Richard said, "It's an honor to do this type of research. This is the only position in the U.S. that allows a physical therapist to do research and I am fortunate to be at the USAISR doing it."
Caldwell said that the impetus for her recognized research was burn patients' susceptibility to infection.
"Since the Department of Defense implemented new security requirements that we must all use a CAC card to access a government computer, we decided to do a study to see what types of bacteria were found on them," she said.
Caldwell noted that while certain measures are taken for infection control there is no policy in place for cleansing CACs and other ID badges that are also worn to access work areas.
"We swiped more than 100 CAC and ID cards from employees at the Burn Intensive Care Unit and from the staff at the outpatient burn clinic," she said.
According to Caldwell, a small percent of the cards were cleaned during the week specimens were collected. While there were no significant differences in the bacteria counts between the BICU and outpatient clinic cards, the rate of bacteria was significantly lower on the cards that had been cleaned.
"This study shows that if we clean our cards at least weekly we can have a positive effect on contamination rates," Caldwell said.
Discussing her selection as a re-appointed chair of the ABA Committee on Technology, Mann-Salinas stated that it is vital for members of the Institute to serve on ABA's various committees.
"We have to share and show what the Army and USAISR are innovating," said Mann-Salinas.
According Mann-Salinas, the Committee on Technology is a perfect forum for introducing products designed at the USAISR to the burn care and research community. She cited product examples she would like to see shared such as the Burn Resuscitation Decision Support System-Mobile, a tool designed for providers who do not routinely care for burn patients which provides recommendations on life-saving resuscitative fluids. Mann-Salinas also suggested introducing the burn patient mapping program WoundFLow, an electronic burn mapping system used for documenting burns and ongoing surgical treatments.
Mann-Salinas added that during her tenure as chair she hopes to create an ABA app that can be used for training, guiding patient care, and family patient care.
The ABA is committed to advancing burn-related research, education, treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention to improve the lives of those affected by burn injuries. The annual meeting is designed to provide the optimal occasion to increase knowledge to its members and guests on the state-of-the-art scientific and practice advances in burn care.