The Center for Critical Care and Trauma Education of the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center provides health care professionals with an opportunity to advance their knowledge and skills under the tutelage of world-renowned leaders in trauma and critical care medicine.

The goal of this program is to provide observers with a current understanding of the many areas of trauma, trauma systems and critical care. Observers can focus on their particular areas of interest. Experiences include clinical interactions, meetings, lectures, rounds and observation of operative procedures.

Observation slots are limited. As a result, an observership will be for a maximum of two weeks with special arrangements only made for research-associated opportunities. Submission of an application for observation does not guarantee that an observership will be approved.

Application Process

  • The observation program application must be completed and returned along with a cover letter, a curriculum vitae, a driver's license for US observers or passport for international observers, scrub size and color photograph.
  • The following letters of recommendation are required, as appropriate (please be sure that all correspondence is written in English):
    • A letter from the Shock Trauma Center individual who issued the invitation
    • Division Chief, Department Chair or Trauma Program Director
    • Residency or Fellowship Program Director
    • Dean of Student Affairs
  • All applications must be submitted at least three months prior to the proposed observation.
  • An acceptance letter and additional paperwork will be forwarded to the applicant if approved.

Program Requirements

  • Medical Requirements: Observers are required to have proof of current immunizations as required by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the hospital's policies and procedures.

    • Vaccine and screening documentation are required for the following:

      1. Measles, Mumps & Rubella: Documentation of 2-shot vaccine series, or titer results for Measles, Mumps & Rubella showing immunity

      2. Varicella (chickenpox): Documentation of 2-shot vaccine series or Titer results for Varicella showing immunity or Physician documentation of disease

      3. Tdap, Adult Dose (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis): Show evidence of Tdap vaccination or Signed Tdap Declination form

      4. Tuberculosis:
        • Previous positive TB skin test requires both completion of TB Screening Questionnaire (reviewed by EHS) and report of negative chest x-ray in past 12 months (Radiology report or physician's letter)

        • Evidence of negative TB testing dated within three months of observation start date.

      5. Hepatitis B: Documentation of 3-shot vaccine series in past or documented immunity or physician statement or Referred to private physician to consider vaccination or Signed Hepatitis B Declination form

      6. Seasonal Influenza Vaccination

  • Medical Insurance: Both national and international observers must have medical insurance to cover their medical expenses in the event of illness or injury while in the Shock Trauma Center and the United States. For international observers, this also includes coverage for expenses of repatriation. If the observer does not have insurance in their home country, they are required to purchase adequate insurance prior to participating in the observation program.

  • All observers are required to maintain confidentiality of the records and files of the Shock Trauma Center and the University of Maryland Medical Center in accordance with applicable law and the hospital's policies and procedures. To that end, all observers are required to sign a confidentiality agreement.

  • The observer is responsible for any and all expenses incurred during their observation, including, but not limited to lodging, meals, transportation and parking.

Program Restrictions

  • Observers do not have clinical privileges and are not permitted to participate in patient care or contact.
  • An observer will not receive any compensation, reimbursement or remuneration for their participation in the observation program.
  • At no time is an observer to be considered a representative, consultant, agent or employee of the Shock Trauma Center or University of Maryland Medical Center.

The following cost structure for observers is in effect as of January 1, 2016.

Domestic Physician Pricing

Position Administrative Fee Daily Weekly
High School/College Student exempt $0 $0
Medical Student UM SOM exempt $0 $0
Non UM Medical Student $100 $0 $0
Attending Physician $100 $350 $1500

International Physician Pricing

Position Administrative Fee Daily Weekly
Medical Student $500 $0 $0
Resident/Fellow $500 $300 $1250
Attending Physician $500 $350 $1500

Domestic Nurse of Allied Health Care Professional Pricing

Position Administrative Fee Daily Weekly
Nurse/Allied Health exempt $275 $1000

International Nurse or Allied Health Care Professional Pricing

Position Administrative Fee Daily Weekly
Nurse/Allied Health $500 $275 $1000

International Travel Considerations

  • Observers may come to Baltimore, Maryland, on a current valid B-1 (visitor for Business) or B-2 (Visitor for Tourism) non-immigrant visa issued by the appropriate authorities. The individual must also be in the possession of an unexpired, valid passport for the entire duration of the observation.
  • A color photocopy of the visa and passport is required prior to arrival. Observers are solely responsible for any expenses incurred to obtain either document.
  • An observer may use the invitation letter or other materials regarding the observership given to the individual by the Shock Trauma Center in support of the individual's application for a B-1/B-2 visa, but the Shock Trauma Center will not sponsor or support the application of an individual for such a visa.
  • Observers must be able to provide proof of competency in the English language, especially in conversational and medical terminology. Any proof of TOEFL or language classes is to be submitted.
  • For more information on the visa process go to the U.S. Department of State — Bureau of Consular Affairs visa page.


Applicants will need to make their own arrangements for lodging, meals, transportation and parking. The Shock Trauma Center can provide guidance for suitable options close to the hospital. Applicants are also eligible for a University of Maryland Medical Center rate at applicable local hotels.

For more information, please view our hotels page or go to UMB's housing page.

At the end of the observation period, a certificate will be issued by the Shock Trauma Center as evidence of successful completion of the program. Observers will be asked to complete an electronic exit survey once the observership is complete. This is an opportunity to provide feedback on how the Center can improve this program.

For More Information

Email the Observer Program administrator at