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U-M Trauma Burn Center earns high national praise for care, research, training and prevention programs

American Burn Association verification renewed; initiatives reach thousands of patients, at-risk youth, first responders and medical providers

ANN ARBOR, Mich. The University of Michigan Trauma Burn Center has once again earned national verification for its burn programs, after an in-depth review by a panel of experts who called the center “outstanding” and “excellent”, and its prevention programs “world-class.”

The verification, by the American Burn Association, continues the U-M Health System’s 54-year tradition as one of the nation’s most experienced burn centers, and maintains its position as one of only two systems in the state to hold the designation.

Based in University Hospital, the center serves patients from infants and children through adults, and provides unique services to community members, first responders and medical staff around the state.

Only 55 hospitals nationwide hold the adult -- and 49 the pediatric -- burn center verification, which recognizes leadership in burn care, research, education, outreach and prevention. U-M is also certified by the American College of Surgeons as a Level 1 Trauma Center for adults and children, and has one of only 11 Injury Control Research Centers funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Karla Klas
Karla Klas, RN, CCRP

 “We’re pleased to once again earn this verification, in recognition of the care we provide to our patients and the service we provide to our state,” says Karla Klas, R.N., CCRP, the center’s managing director of Injury Prevention and Community Outreach. Klas recently received the national Burn Prevention Award from the ABA in recognition of the many programs she leads on behalf of the center.

Stewart Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

“We are proud of our long history of providing leadership and innovation in burn care treatment, education, research, injury prevention, and rehabilitation world-wide,” says U-M Burn Director Stewart Wang, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of surgery at the U-M Medical School and director of the International Center for Automotive Medicine, which performs research on traumatic and burn injuries from auto crashes.

The verification comes on the heels of a renovation of the dedicated Trauma Burn inpatient unit in University Hospital, where more than 1,400 patients receive intensive, acute and rehabilitative care each year. Many of them fly to Ann Arbor within hours of their injury, via U-M’s Survival Flight air medical service.

In addition to patients, the center reaches thousands of others annually.  Here’s how:

  • Every Michigander stands to benefit from U-M’s work as the State Burn Coordinating Center, planning for incidents that burn large numbers of people. U-M-led training has helped more than 350 physicians, nurses, first responders and others from more than 20 hospitals earn advanced burn life support (ABLS) certification.U-M offers free online burn care education for any health care provider at, and led development of the state’s Burn Incident Plan, which the ABA panel called “the ultimate example of what each state should put in place.”


  • Nearly every weekday, the center’s experts consult with a fire inspector or marshal, a case worker, a juvenile court official, a therapist, a school or a police official about intervention and treatment options for high-risk youth and their families.


  • More than 5,200 Michigan police, fire and emergency medical personnel, and all types of health providers, have received professional education from U-M burn care experts in the last three years. Four times a year, special conferences available in person and live via the Internet address specific topics in burn care and injury prevention.



  • More than 2,200 kids and teens who have been caught misusing fire – everything from playing with matches to arson – or are at risk of doing so have taken part in the free Straight Talk fire prevention intervention program. The program involves direct interaction with a wide range of professionals and burn survivors, to help them understand the medical, social, legal and financial consequences associated with misuse of fire.


  • Hundreds of community groups, senior living centers and others have heard from U-M trauma and burn experts through free presentations around the state. To request a presentation, visit  or call 734-232-3814.



  • As more cars with Automated Crash Notification systems drive American highways, the center offers online education through to help first responders triage accident victims and gain experience in understanding the nature and severity of different types of crash injuries so they can get patients to the right type of care quickly.


The center relies on donations to fund many of these programs. To give online, visit 

To learn more about the U-M Trauma Burn Center, visit .

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