AETC office supports AF medical training mission

  • Published
  • By Robert Goetz
  • Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs
Medical education in the Air Force experienced a transformation six years ago with the establishment of Air Force Medical Modeling and Simulation Training.

Based at Air Education and Training Command, the AFMMAST Central Program Office is the hub of that initiative.

"The central program office is responsible for the assessment, development and execution of medical modeling and simulation processes to facilitate training across the Air Force enterprise," Col. (Dr.) Meletios Fotinos, AFFMAST CPO medical modernization chief, said.

"We're the organization that provides cradle-to-grave support to enhance education and training for all aspects of health care," he said.

The AFMMAST mission - "to develop and use advanced learning technologies and methodologies to improve medical education and training for health care teams and patients, for the purpose of improving health care outcomes" - is carried out at simulation centers throughout the Air Force, including the 59th Medical Wing Simulation Center at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, and the JBSA-Camp Bullis Medical Readiness Training Center.

It is also achieved through the Computer Based Air Force Medical Training System, an immersive trainer that presents interactive 3D serious games for learning and practicing battlefield medicine.

Fotinos called the CPO the "integration unit" that brings expertise to enhance the learning experience. It provides guidance on simulation center operations, training, acquisition of equipment and support on any technical issues; its areas of responsibility comprise resource management, logistics, operations, information technology, research and development, and curriculum development.

"We've grown to 47 contract professionals at 21 sites around the globe," Ruben Garza, AFMMAST CPO medical modernization administrator, said. Seven of those contractors are assigned to the CPO along with Fotinos, Garza and Senior Master Sgt. Juan Rodriguez, medical modernization manager.

The central program office oversees funding, contracting and procurement of equipment, Garza said. AFMMAST has $42 million in its simulation equipment inventory and a budget of $3.5 million per year for purchases.

"Oversight is necessary to ensure taxpayers' money is appropriately spent to support training objectives," Fotinos said.

Garza said one of AFMMAST's focus areas is readiness; the others are taking care of people and cost-effective training.

"We're training our medics to better take care of our war fighters and beneficiaries," Fotinos said. "We strive to provide the best service to meet the mission at the lowest cost."

He said modeling and simulations provide opportunities to train medics to treat patients and mitigate risks, both downrange and in garrison.

Rodriguez said medical training, whether it's done at simulation centers or through 3-D gaming, "prepares people to be more comfortable."

"It's just practice, constant muscle awareness," Garza said.

Fotinos said AFMMAST was stood up at the direction of the Air Force surgeon general "to lay the foundation to enhance education and training capabilities for the future.

"The initial effort was to inventory existing equipment and develop a standardized process to ensure cost-effective, training objective-driven equipment purchases," he said. "In addition, the AFMMAST program strived to develop standardized processes to systematically identify training requirements and training tools to address these gaps."

Fotinos said education and training is in a transformational era because technological advances "have opened up training to include computer-based training, interactive virtual environments and self-assessment tools to measure an individual's progress in reaching a goal.

"Medical modeling and simulation training tools allow us to provide a variety of training modalities to engage users in the acquisition of knowledge, the development of psychomotor skills to perform tasks and the ability to effectively communicate in team settings in providing integrated care to our patients," he said. "In addition, modeling and simulation allows us to develop training to focus on high-risk, low-volume conditions in which teams can practice so they can respond more effectively when they occur in the 'real world.'"

More information on AFMMAST and training courses that are available can be found at