Surgeons, doctors, students and frontline workers participated in the inaugural South Texas Advance Symposium on Trauma & Critical Care, hosted by the South Texas Health System McAllen Trauma Department.

There’s no denying trauma is a major health issue; it’s the leading cause of death for individuals up to the age of 45, according to the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma. In the United States alone, more than three million traumatic injuries occur each year, according to CDC. While certain strategies — such as the use of seatbelts and staying alert in your surroundings — can help reduce one’s chances of suffering a life-altering injury, it is never entirely preventable.

From falls and burns to motor vehicle accidents, the threat of trauma is always present, making it extremely important for medical professionals on the frontlines of trauma and critical care to be up to date with the most advanced, practical and clinically relevant information when it comes to their skills and training.

At South Texas Health System, continuing education is highly encouraged, not just for the medical personnel at its 11 facilities, but for all professionals involved in patient care throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

On Saturday, September 11, 2021, South Texas Health System McAllen’s Trauma Department hosted its inaugural South Texas Advance Symposium on Trauma & Critical Care, which featured the participation of more than a dozen leading trauma professionals from across the country who work in hospitals, universities, nonprofit organizations, law enforcement and military environments. 

Each guest speaker presented their latest research findings and time-tested strategies related to their work in trauma and critical care to a live and web audience of more than 100 fellow physicians, healthcare and frontline workers, and medical students. 

Topics included: The Structure of Modern Combat Casualty Care, led by a general surgeon who has served as a special forces medic on multiple deployments; Acute Burn Resuscitation: ER to Initial Management, led by general and burn surgeon with the U.S. Army; Surgically Yours — A Final Airway Solution, led by a medical device inventor and lecturer; Front Liners: Our Modern Struggle with PTSD in Healthcare, led by a surgical intensivist and more.

“This educational conference was designed to lend useful information to a wide range of medical professionals and to provide insight on the challenging aspects faced in their daily practices,” said Dr. Carlos H. Palacio, Director of Research, Trauma Department, South Texas Health System McAllen. “Beyond discussing the current trends of trauma and critical care, it was also important for us to explore how to approach mental wellness. Over the last year, healthcare providers have faced the most significant challenge of our generation with COVID-19, which has imposed a lasting mental strain on each one of us.”

In addition to the full day educational conference, the three-day symposium also featured two days of courses in which physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals earned AMA and CME credits and certifications for Stop the Bleed and Mental Health First Aid.

“At South Texas Health System, patients are the priority. And to be able to continue providing our patients with the best outcomes, we provide opportunities for our staff to stay current with the latest medical advancements and best practices,” said South Texas Health System McAllen CEO Todd Mann. “This symposium is not just beneficial to our trauma team and patients, but to other teams and patients from across the country as well. Collaboration is key to being able to offer the best systems of care and for reducing the tens of thousands of fatal trauma injuries that happen each year.”

Certificates of completion were presented to all symposium participants, and the presentations were recorded for future sharing with incoming medical personnel at South Texas Health System. Next year’s South Texas Advance Symposium on Trauma & Critical Care will take place on August 25, 2022.

About South Texas Health System 

South Texas Health System is a multi-facility healthcare system serving patients throughout the Rio Grande Valley. The system includes four acute care facility campuses with specialties in pediatrics, heart and vascular services, maternity and women’s health and trauma services. Inpatient and outpatient treatment for behavioral health needs and addictive disorders is also provided through the system’s South Texas Health System Behavioral facility. South Texas Health System is affiliated with the South Texas Clinical Partners ACO, Prominence Health Plan, and Cornerstone Regional Hospital. The system operates an advanced Level II Trauma Center at South Texas Health System McAllen, the first and only freestanding children’s facility and pediatric ER at South Texas Health System Children’s, the region’s only freestanding heart hospital and specialized cardiac ER at South Texas Health System Heart, and six freestanding emergency rooms located in and around Weslaco, Mission, Edinburg, McAllen and Alamo. For more information about the system and its comprehensive services, please visit

Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of South Texas Health System. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians.