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The Burn Center accepts military and civilians

Top Contributors to Combat Casualty Care

Team ISR,

COL (DR) Mark Stackle
COL Mark Stackle, MD

As I review this issue of The Innovator, I continue to be impressed by the tremendous work performed by the entire ISR team. The work that each of you do every day in support of our research and patient care missions is simply exceptional. I was captivated by Dr. Galvan's article exploring the recent issue of the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, which highlighted the top ten contributing authors in combat casualty care over the past twenty years. As the article outlined, nearly every one of those authors is a current or former member of the ISR team or has close ties with our organization. The work done by this group and many others translated directly into materiel innovations and knowledge products that were instrumental in achieving the highest survival rates in modern warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While it is refreshing to see the ISR's recent impact on combat casualty care captured in one of the premiere medical journals, I know all of us recognize that the ISR's contributions to trauma and burn care extend well beyond the most recent two decades. It is well known within the international burn care community that the ISR Burn Center's research efforts have yielded fundamental advances in the multidisciplinary care of burn casualties since its founding in 1949. The year 1949 is significant in our history since it marks the year where the ISR Burn Center was established as the military's only burn center, and became only the second burn center established in the United States. To this day, the ISR Burn Center continues to be the only military burn center, and the ISR remains the only military medical research lab that incorporates both a direct patient care mission and a robust basic science research program.

While most people think that the legacy of the ISR started with its arrival in San Antonio in 1947, the ISR actually traces our lineage back to the Surgical Research Unit (SRU), which was founded at Halloran General Hospital on Staten Island, New York. The SRU's initial mission was to evaluate the role of the newly discovered antibiotic, penicillin, as a possible method to treat surgical wounds. With the outbreak of World War II, however, the SRU relocated to Fort Sam Houston to be co-located with Brooke Army Medical Center – a partnership that has brought enduring benefits to military medicine in garrison and on the battlefield.

The atomic detonations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 generated thousands of burn casualties alerting the Army to the real threat of burn injuries in future wars. The critical need for improved therapy for burn patients was further amplified when the Soviet Union successfully tested their own nuclear bomb in 1949. Since that period in history, the ISR has remained dedicated to addressing this threat to our service members.

It is a true honor to be part of this esteemed organization that has done so much to advance the quality of health care delivered in the hospital and on the battlefield. While our research mission has expanded to include all facets of combat casualty care, it is the commitment and professionalism of our staff that have remained a constant. Thanks for all that each of you do to support our organization and for the tremendously positive difference you are making for our future Warfighters and their families.

Col. Mark Stackle, MD
USAISR Commander

"Forge the Future"