Meet our Director of Trauma, Garrett Chism

Director of Trauma, Garrett ChismQ: As the Director of Trauma, can you please tell us a little more about this area of specialty?

A: Trauma is defined as anyone who is injured, from a simple laceration to complex multi-system injuries. In 1966, an influential report was published by the National Academy of Sciences titled, Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society, more commonly known as The White Paper. The document outlined (among other things) the significant mortality rates associated with injured patients and the lack of a system to take care of them. The White Paper was the catalyst of creating the first organized Trauma System. This system includes all aspects of patient care: injury prevention, the 911 system, Emergency Medical Providers and hospital personnel to care for injured patients. Several studies show that hospitals that participate in the Trauma System have better patient outcomes than those who don’t. Our Trauma Department at Sky Ridge is responsible for ensuring that injured patients receive the best possible care.

Q: What led you to your role in Trauma?

A: At the age of 16, I volunteered as an explorer with my local Fire Department and quickly fell in love with the medical piece. I trained as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) while in high school and transitioned into paramedic school. By the age of 19, I was working on a 911 ambulance as a Paramedic and for several years served both Los Angeles and Denver. Having worked in almost every area of EMS, I put my focus into quality improvement and disaster preparedness. My education includes undergraduate degrees in Biology, Pre-Medical Studies and Health Care Management from Metro State Denver. If that wasn’t enough, I then completed my MBA at Regis University. While at Sky Ridge I have been a member of the Trauma Committee as the EMS Coordinator since 2006. I moved into the role of Trauma and Disaster Preparedness Manager and was recently named the Director of Trauma.

Q: What do you envision for our Trauma program?

A: Our vision is to be a destination facility for Trauma patients. Sky Ridge Medical Center currently has a wide array of services not offered at other Level III Trauma Centers. We are fortunate to have Trauma Surgeons and sub-specialists who currently work at Level I and II institutions regularly. We have highly trained nursing and ancillary staff with state-of-the -art technology.  Sky Ridge is part of a larger system of Trauma care with sister facilities like The Medical Center of Aurora (Level II Trauma Center) and Swedish Medical Center (Level I Trauma Center). Sky Ridge is currently seeking approval to advance to a Level II Trauma Center.

Q: Can you share an interesting fact about Trauma with us?

A: One of our largest responsibilities in Trauma services is injury prevention. In the United States alone, one-third of adults 65 years of age and older experience a fall every year. These falls often lead to devastating injuries.

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside the office?

A: I have quite the love affair with my two daughters, Reese (7-years-old) and Chloe (5 -½ years-old going on 16). My best day is any time I get to share with them. During the summer we enjoy going on bike rides, playing in the park, exploring the earth and having frozen yogurt. When I’m not spending time with my girls, I enjoy reading, skiing, fly fishing, motorcycles, old cars and travelling.