EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Texas Tech University Health Sciences El Paso has recently launched their first Tactical Medicine Fellowship.

The program is the first Tactical Medicine Fellowship in Texas, and the fourth on a national level. The fellowship is a one-year program where a new fellow will be chosen every July.

TTUHSC El Paso claims to be the only health sciences center along the U.S. Mexico border that is designated as a Title V Hispanic-Serving Institution. The institution prepares the next generation of health care providers, claiming that 48% of them identify as Hispanic.

The new program is said to involve physicians that will respond to critical incidents in order to provide first aid to all victims during on-going crime scenes. The program will also train physicians to work alongside law enforcement and SWAT.

Stephen Schwartfeger, M.D., is the first doctor who has been accepted into the fellowship. He is also a graduate of the TTUHSC El Paso Emergency Medicine residency program. It is said that he will be training at the El Paso Community College Law Enforcement Academy for the next six months and will graduate with full police credentials.

Once the police training is complete, he will begin working with the rest of the Tactical Medicine team. The team currently consists of four doctors within the Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso. The team is currently led by Robert Root, D.O., who spent four years as an emergency medicine doctor in the U.S. Army and is now an emergency medicine specialist.

“We will bridge that gap between police and paramedics, who have to wait about three to four blocks away until the scene is cleared and declared safe by officers. In certain situations, a patient needs medical care while the scene is still active and there’s still a potential danger.”

Dr. Root hopes that there will be more physicians and fellows added to the team in the future.

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