American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Trauma Education

Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS)

The Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) program can teach you a systematic, concise approach to the care of a trauma patient. ATLS was developed by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma (ACS COT) and was first introduced in the U.S. and abroad in 1980. ATLS courses provide you with a safe and reliable method for immediate management of injured patients. Our courses teach you how to assess a patient’s condition, resuscitate and stabilize him or her, and determine if his or her needs exceed a facility’s capacity. It also covers how to arrange for a patient’s interhospital transfer and ensure that optimum care is provided throughout the process. If you don’t treat trauma patients frequently, an ATLS course provides an easy method to remember for evaluation and treatment of a trauma victim.

Trauma Evaluation and Management (TEAM)

The Trauma Evaluation and Management (TEAM) program provides an introductory course in the evaluation and management of trauma for medical students during their clinical years. In the flexible format of a slide presentation and other components, the program includes a three-segment initial assessment video demonstration, a series of clinical trauma case scenarios for small group discussion, and skills sessions. The slide and lecture presentation, included in the faculty DVD, can easily be adapted into a medical school’s curriculum. The program’s core content is adapted from the ATLS course, and should not be used to replace ATLS participation. TEAM is an expanded version of the ATLS “Initial Assessment and Management” lecture and was developed by the ATLS Committee of the ACS Committee on Trauma.

Advanced Trauma Operative Management (ATOM)

The Advanced Trauma Operative Management (ATOM) course aims to increase students’ surgical competence and confidence by teaching proper operative techniques for penetrating injuries to the chest and abdomen. Established in 1998, the ATOM course is intended for senior surgical residents, trauma fellows, military surgeons, and general surgeons not frequently called on to treat penetrating injuries. During the program, students are asked to identify traumatic injuries, develop a plan to surgically repair them, and be able to describe proper operative techniques. Students who complete ATOM should have increased knowledge in managing penetrating injuries and be able to successfully and safely perform the procedures presented. Participants can earn Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits for the course.

Rural Trauma Team Development Course (RTTDC)

The Rural Trauma Team Development Course (RTTDC) emphasizes a team approach to the initial evaluation and resuscitation of the trauma patient at a rural facility. The course assists health care professionals in determining the need to transfer the patient to a higher level of care. The one-day course includes interactive lectures on both medical procedures and communication strategies and three team performance scenarios.

Disaster Management and Emergency Preparedness (DMEP)

The Disaster Management and Emergency Preparedness (DMEP) course teaches planning methods, preparedness, and medical management of trauma patients in mass casualty disaster situations. Through lecture and interactive scenarios, health care providers learn incident command terminology, principals of disaster triage, injury patterns, and availability of assets for support during the one-day program.

Advanced Surgical Skills for Exposure in Trauma (ASSET)

The Advanced Surgical Skills for Exposure in Trauma (ASSET) course uses human cadavers to teach surgical exposure of anatomic structures that, when injured, may pose a threat to life or limb. Students use a course manual that provides an overview of surgical exposures in key areas: neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis, and upper and lower extremities. The one-day course covers each section, beginning with a case-based overview that is followed by a hands-on exposure guided by the faculty. The student-to-faculty ratio is low, allowing extensive faculty guidance and interaction with students. Each student assesses his or her ability to perform each exposure independently, and is evaluated on knowledge and technical skills.

Basic Endovascular Skills for Trauma (BEST)

The Basic Endovascular Skills for Trauma (BEST) course is the third surgical skills course to be offered by the COT. Participants in the course learn endovascular techniques such as arterial access and resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) to temporize life-threatening hemorrhage. The following BEST products are offered: BEST Course, BEST Workshop for Association/Conference Symposium hosts, and BEST Workshop for Institution Hosts. BEST Courses include didactics, simulators, and perfused cadavers. Courses offer 4 CME credit hours and instruction by National Faculty and local Instructors. Associations, conferences, and symposiums can host a BEST Workshop with didactics and simulators, offering 3.75 CME credit hours and instruction by National Faculty. Institutions, such as hospitals, can host a BEST Workshop with didactics and simulators, offering 3.75 CME credit hours and instruction by National Faculty. Workshops are intended to serve as an Introduction to REBOA. Those who wish to pursue more in-depth training may attend the BEST Course, which offers more hands-on training with perfused cadavers including ultrasound guided common femoral arterial (CFA) access, percutaneous and open cannulation of the CFA, and CFA repair. To inquire about any of these products, or to schedule a workshop at your association meeting or Institution, please e-mail


Value of Simulated Trauma Training

Dr. Gross on Simulated Trauma Training

Dr. Ronald Gross discusses how the ACS Advanced Trauma Operative Management (ATOM) course addresses the need for additional surgical training.