Health Professions

EHS faculty member C.J. Winckler wins Kudolo Award for whole blood research

Dr. CJ Winckler

By Kate Hunger

C.J. Winckler, MD, LP, associate professor/clinical in the Department of Emergency Health Sciences, has earned the School of Health Professions’ 2022 George Kudolo Award for Research Excellence for his work on the prehospital use of whole blood to transfuse patients suffering hemorrhagic shock.

Dr. Winckler is the senior author of the paper “THOR-AABB Working Party Recommendations for a Prehospital Blood Product Transfusion Program,” which was published in the journal Prehospital Emergency Care in October 2021. Written by a group of blood and whole blood experts from multiple specialties, the publication is considered a landmark paper on best practices for whole blood prehospital transfusion, said School of Health Professions Dean David Shelledy, PhD, RRT, FAARC, FASAHP, in his remarks before presenting the award during the School of Health Professions’ annual research retreat Feb. 18. The authors included EMS physicians, pathologists, trauma surgeons and pediatric intensivists.

Dr. Winckler also serves as deputy medical director of EMS for the San Antonio Fire Department (SAFD) and as an associate professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine. He has been a leader in the use of whole blood transfusion by emergency responders since the SAFD began its program in 2018. About 850 patients in the San Antonio area ranging in age from 2 to almost 100 years old have received whole blood since the program began, he said. Whole blood is now stored on six SAFD supervisor vehicles and two ambulances. The EMS Fellows also carry one unit of blood in their UT Health San Antonio emergency response vehicle.

“A balanced blood-based resuscitation is a standard of care already in the ER and OR, and now we have brought that standard of care to the prehospital environment,” he said.

Although research has shown that whole blood transfusion has saved the lives of troops injured on the battlefields, at the time the SAFD program began there were no studies showing that the practice saves lives in the civilian population, Dr. Winckler said. He is also an author on a research paper that shows whole blood reduces early prehospital mortality.

The Kudolo Award is named in honor of George Kudolo, PhD, CPC, FAIC, FAACC, a full professor with tenure in the Department of Health Sciences and a leader in nutrition, metabolism and cardiovascular disease research.

“It’s an honor,” Dr. Winckler said of receiving the award. “I’m not a researcher by training. I’m a paramedic who became a physician and just values research. I couldn’t do this without the support of the School of Health Professions and the San Antonio Fire Department allowing us to do this program.

“I feel like I’m just doing what I’m passionate about,” he added.

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