Air Methods Ascend is leading the way in clinical education using state-of-the-art technology


Denver, CO, April 13, 2023 – Air Methods, the nation’s leading air medical service provider, is supporting the Transport Medicine Competition, facilitated in part by Director of Simulation and Innovative Education William B. Belk, at the Critical Care Transport Medicine Conference (CCTMC), April 17-19, 2023, in Denver, CO. This annual event challenges eight critical care transport teams to demonstrate their skills in multiple critical care simulation scenarios in front of a live audience using high-fidelity simulation that tests skills, knowledge, critical thinking, and communication under extremely stressful conditions.

Belk’s expertise has been instrumental in creating the Ascend state-of-the-art flight and critical care training center where Air Methods employs the latest education concepts and technology, including virtual reality (VR), high-fidelity manikins, and serious gaming in its advanced training programs for pre-hospital, emergency, and critical care clinicians. For those seeking or advancing a career in emergency medical services, the Ascend evidence-based clinical education program employs emerging technology to expand those career opportunities.

Through its Ascend program and six advanced training facilities, Air Methods facilitates both in-person and remote learning, giving equal opportunity to a wider range of people to pursue careers in emergency medical services. All Ascend programs are built upon evidence-based practices and are taught by experienced critical care flight clinicians using the latest tools and technologies:

  • Virtual Reality (VR) Tools in Partnership with SimX: Advances in VR technology make headsets worn by learners completely wireless while being managed remotely by an instructor from another location. With this teaching modality, clinicians can be immersed in realistic scenarios – as if they are working in an aircraft, ambulance or hospital – that include patient situations, equipment and interactions with other clinicians. For critical care clinicians, this makes consistent, highly effective training programs accessible without the time and cost barriers caused by travel and the need for a traditional simulation center.
  • Interactive Manikin Simulations: High-fidelity manikins are extremely realistic, able to interact and react as a real person in a medical crisis. Manikins simulate clinical interactions with adult, high-risk obstetric, pediatric and infant patients and react based on input from the learner as well as instructors. Clinicians work through entire care episodes from meeting the patient, assessing their condition and symptoms, and proceeding with care, providing realistic, hands-on experience that builds skills and confidence.
  • Serious Gaming: Serious gaming uses games to teach rather than entertain. Serious gaming allows the learner to solve problems in an interactive format that provides feedback and competition. Serious games can take many forms, including video games, escape rooms, card games, board games, and competitive trivia, making them a versatile and effective approach. Competitive problem-solving improves retention, helping clinicians apply what they’ve learned to real-world situations.

“Air medical services are critical to serving patients, especially in rural communities, enabling critical care and transport that saves lives,” said JaeLynn Williams, CEO, Air Methods. “The advances in educational technologies our team has advocated in recent years help clinicians gain the skills and confidence they need to provide live-saving care in the most challenging situations. Our aim is to break down existing barriers to make these advanced training and recertification programs widely available.”

In addition to Belk’s contribution, CCTMC will feature Air Methods associates, Stephanie Queen, DNP, MBA, MSN, RN, senior vice president of clinical services and Kelly Miller, vice president of clinical services.

Belk has also been called upon to share his expertise at several other industry conferences in 2023. At Augmented World Expo, May 31-June 2, in Santa Clara, Calif., the world’s leading virtual reality conference, he will highlight Air Methods as the only large-scale virtual reality program in air medicine. He will speak on the use of serious games at the Colorado EMS Educators Symposium (CEES) in Glenwood Springs, CO. May 19-21, and he will be presenting on education and serious games at the SimGHOSTS conference in Omaha, NE, August 1-4.

For a tour of Ascend’s in-person training facility in Denver, e-mail . Learn more about Ascend here.

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About Air Methods

Air Methods ( is the leading air medical service, delivering lifesaving care to more than 100,000 people every year. With nearly 40 years of air medical experience, Air Methods is the preferred partner for hospitals and one of the largest community-based providers of air medical services. United Rotorcraft is the Company’s products division specializing in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features more than 450 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

Media Contact:

Denisse Coffman
Vice President of Corporate Communications
Air Methods Corporation