The STOP THE BLEED® (STB) program is completing an exciting year of programming and remains the premier initiative in community-based hemorrhage control. With growth in the size and scope of the program, STB has continued to be an integral part of the American College of Surgeons (ACS).
Faced with programmatic changes due to COVID-19, STB renews its commitment to provide bleeding control information and education to all. The Committee on Trauma (COT), along with the STB workgroups, continues to lead the effort, evolving and shaping the program and advocating for its ongoing success. The active and passionate involvement by COT Region Chiefs, State Chairs and Vice-Chairs continue to be critical to the growth and success of the program, with new initiatives and calls of action to further increase participation at the local COT level.
STB has experienced a substantial increase in the number of instructors, with over 80,000 instructors spread across more than 120 countries. The global growth of the program was the catalyst for recent translations of the course, and the expansion of instructor categories eligible to teach the course has enabled the course to be taught to more communities in need.
As the program expands, ACS has enhanced the training to provide top-notch resources to all instructors. These ongoing enhancements allow instructors with various backgrounds to confidently train individuals of various educational levels in these life-saving skills.
Since the program’s inception, more than 1.5 million individuals have been trained. This number includes training in every state in the U.S., as well as training on every continent. Global growth has resulted in concentrated efforts to establish program in areas like Saudi Arabi and the United Kingdom.
STB State Champions
The STB State Champions (Champions) continue to help promote, connect instructors, and advocate for STB programs in their states. These individuals mitigate the need for public courses and further promulgate STB when courses are not available.
Prior to COVID-19, several Champions worked with local schools, upcoming conventions, and offices to coordinate courses with local instructors for larger groups. With almost 70 Champions identified, these individuals work in their local areas, promoting STB to media, facilities, and more. They work with the local instructors to provide first-level support and engage instructors and Fellows in program opportunities. As a resource in their state or locality, the Champions have quickly become the face of STB.
STB and COVID-19
In the wake of COVID-19, the ACS followed the directives of the Department of Defense (DoD), which recommended a pause of in-person courses. In March 2020, all course instruction ceased.
National Stop the Bleed Day and National Stop the Bleed Month (NSTBD/M) are among the nation’s largest public health campaigns providing life-saving training to the general public. The ACS has partnered with national and international agencies to promote and provide support for each event.
The May 2020 NSTBM/D initiative required a new strategy as a result of COVID-19 and the recommendations to halt all STB training. As a result, the STB program created a refocused strategy that fully adhered to ACS, government, and local social distancing. This action ensured STB remained a focus for the general public while maintaining the current momentum for the initiative. ACS provided information and media messaging to millions, with information and a call to action on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. As instruction was still not advised, the messaging drove the importance of proper bleeding control techniques and stories of STB during home and local accidents and injuries.
ACS, in accordance with DoD guidelines, has allowed STB courses to resume in areas that allow the course to occur, and has provided instructors guidance on resuming courses. Instructors have been given protocols on social distancing, masks, and cleaning procedures that are in line with manufacturer instructions. In addition, all STB kits now include masks for the immediate responder and the victim.
Immediately after the introduction of the new STB website at last years’ Clinical Congress, further enhancements to the instructor portal were introduced. The updated portal has become completely automated, allowing immediate approval of instructors and faster class administration. This project improved many processes that were cumbersome for instructors and has resulted in a more satisfactory user experience.