Other Writings and Resources 

 VMAS – A Proposed Educational Framework

Kay Howell, Federation of American Scientists
Gerald A. Higgins, Ph.D., Laerdal Medical Corporation

The VMAS Educational Framework was developed as part of the work of the Validation
Methodology for Medical Simulation Training (VMAS) Committee for the Telemedicine Advanced
Technology Research Center (TATRC) of the US Army Medical and Materiel Command (see
Appendix A).


This white paper describes an educational framework for training combat medics, physicians and
others to increase the readiness of medical personnel in the military. The central premise of this
framework is the use of simulation to form an effective bridge between textbook and patient, while
reducing errors associated with acquisition of patient care skills. Procedural skill acquisition
requires both development of technical skills and cognitive or decision making components (i.e.
when, where, and how) of implementation. The complex tasks performed by medics and
surgeons require the performance of a large set of different skills, of which some are
simultaneously performed and others in a temporal order. This proposed educational framework
is designed to foster coordination and integration of those skills through employment of realistic
problem situations and the use of simulation to permit learners to practice and demonstrate skills.
The educational framework employs a key set of principals of learning science that have been
demonstrated to enhance learning.  Read the full document here: VMAS

Emergency Training Systems – A Survey

Becky Sullivan, Federation of American Scientists Learning Federation Project
February 2005

Three years and as much as $8 billion after the call for increased funding for emergency
preparedness, there is little documentation regarding progress made, efforts to address this call, and
most importantly, the effectiveness of these efforts. According to William O. Jenkins, Jr., Director of
the Homeland Security and Justice Issues at the Government Accountability Office (GAO), “the
GAO does not know how much has gone for planning, training, and exercises. And GAO does not
know how much has gone specifically to train first responders because the largest grants, such as the
State Homeland Security Grants, can generally be used for planning, equipment purchases, training,
and exercises, at the discretion of the grant recipient

The training of first responders, who include public safety personnel working in law
enforcement, emergency medical services, emergency management, fire service, public works,
government administration, health care, and public health, is a key area of emergency preparedness.
Millions of civilian and military medical personnel need to be trained quickly to respond to events
involving WMD and have continuous access to refresher courses, including “just in time” training
during an emergency. Several strategies are used to train first responders, such as hands-on training
with equipment, field exercises, videos, lectures, and Technology-Enabled Learning Systems
(TELS). TELS encompasses a wider range of digital learning activities than Computer-Based
Training (CBT): slide shows, such as PowerPoint presentations delivered on CD-Rom or via the
Internet, to learning systems that incorporate advanced computer technologies such as virtual reality
and intelligent tutors. TELS have the potential to be an effective and efficient method of training and
preparing first responders, and there are hundreds of TELS aimed at the first responder market. What
does not exist is a way to evaluate their quality and effectiveness. Many are developed with guidance
or funds from government agencies, but the standards they are held to are unclear. This survey
provides an analysis of 54 TELS developed for emergency responders in the event of a mass casualty
incident (MCI) and discusses their features and capabilities.  Read the full report here: 
Training Systems

Training Technology against Terror: Using Advanced Technology to Prepare America’s Emergency Medical Personnel and First Responders for a Weapon of Mass Destruction Attack

Henry Kelly, FAS, Van Blackwood, FAS, Michelle Roper, FAS, Gerry Higgins, Simquest, Gary Klein, MITRE, John Tyler, MITRE, Dexter Fletcher, IDA, Henry Jenkins, MIT, Alex Chisolm, MIT, Kurt Squire, MIT

September 9, 2002

Without an effective investment in training, the nation’s investment in Weapons
of Mass Destruction (WMD) response will be largely wasted. WMD training demands
are dramatically larger in scope and more complex than anything the nation has faced
before. A chemical, biological, nuclear, explosive, or radiological attack will require
managing a large site, possibly with thousands of casualties, and organizing local, state,
and federal law enforcement, fire, rescue, and medical teams with diverse backgrounds
and specialties. There can be no room for delay or confusion— participants will be
called upon to do extraordinary things even though most of them will have never
confronted a similar situation. But the nation’s emergency responders, medical personnel
and law enforcement officials indicate that they are not prepared. Read the full report here:  Training Technology Against Terror