SAN DIEGO — Medical students from across the West Coast were able to participate in a one-of-a-kind, intensive surgical and trauma training at Strategic Operations, Inc. in Kearny Mesa.  

The weeklong training included simulations from active shooters, car crashes and explosions.  

“This is a unique exercise learning environment for medical students, there is nothing else similar in the world,” said Dean Gubler, professor of Surgery Military Medicine.

Second-year medical students from Western University, Rocky Vista University and Touro University attended the training. All 42 students are a part of a scholarship program with the U.S. military that requires them to take the course.

“We learn how to put things in a very realistic environment, we are a part of a television movie studio, we use all the techniques of TV and the movie business and apply that everything from how to put together scenarios that are extremely realistic, sets, the props, the special effects,” said Kit Lavell, executive vice president for strategic operations.  

Students are able to operate on mannequins and real people that have a bodysuit, which they can cut into and also operate on.  

“It really feels more real than what you would expect it to,” said Heather Martin, second-year medical student at Rocky Vista University. 

Martin says she will be pursing her residency in the Air Force, and that this week has taught her real-life possible scenarios she will have to do once she graduates.   

“You know this is the career that I chose, this is what I want to do, this is something that is important, what I am learning here is something that is going to help not make a mistake, not freeze, not mess up when it really matters,” Martin said.