Welcome to the Southern Illinois Trauma Center

Trauma centers treat the most serious and complex combinations of injuries, those from which a person may be at risk of loss of life or limb. The SITC follows international guidelines for a Level I trauma center as established by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. Thus, the SITC provides resources for all areas of trauma care, from prevention, through emergency department and hospital treatment, and into rehabilitation. After providing initial emergency evaluation, the SITC trauma team continues its direct involvement, providing advanced critical care, specialized medical services, and outpatient care. 

Our History

The first Level I trauma center in the region, the Southern Illinois Trauma Center (SITC), serves an 18-county region of west central and southern Illinois with Level I trauma care. Initially a partnership of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield Memorial Hospital, and St. John’s Hospital, the SITC was approved by the Illinois Department of Public Health and began operations in July 1999 under the leadership of its first medical director, Dr. William (Bill) Schiller. The SITC, along with strong regional EMS, hospital and community partners, rapidly demonstrated the value and feasibility of a regional southern Illinois Level I Trauma Center. For 15 years, the SITC hospital site alternated annually between St. John’s Hospital and Springfield Memorial Hospital. The SITC has a permanent home at Springfield Memorial Hospital.

Following Dr. Schiller’s retirement in 2002, Dr. John Fortune led the SITC until 2004. Dr. John Sutyak, who has worked fulltime with the SITC since 2001, is the current medical director, a position he has held since 2004. The SITC faculty includes four additional fulltime SIU trauma/critical care surgeons:  Dr. Jarrod Wall, Dr. Adam Reid, Dr. Brandt Whitehurst, and Dr. Benjamin Rejowski. All SITC surgeons are diplomats of the American Board of Surgery in both General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care. Several SITC surgeons also volunteer as Associate Examiners for the American Board of Surgery. SITC surgeons and their families live in the Springfield area, the region they serve. They are personally invested in Southern Illinois through family, schools, athletics, churches, and many other local organizations. Collectively, the five trauma surgeons represent more than 70 combined years of trauma/critical care experience.  In recent years trauma surgical care has become closely aligned with critical care or intensive care.  All four SITC trauma surgeons have specialized training in both surgical trauma and critical care which means the patients are not only managed in the Emergency Department but beyond to the ICU, hence providing more cohesive care.

Our Service

The SITC treats about 1,400 patients each year. Our trauma team and the regional system are organized to provide emergency and in-patient treatment as well as follow-up care after hospitalization, specializing in patients with multiple injuries. About 25% of patients seen by the SITC are initially evaluated at another access hospital before transfer for care of their complex injuries.

Two additional SIU general surgery faculty members with special interest and qualifications in trauma care broaden the primary trauma surgery on-call team. The SITC works closely and in conjunction with the Emergency Medicine physicians at Springfield Memorial Hospital, including faculty members of the Division of Emergency Medicine at SIU. A multitude of specialists in neurosurgery, orthopedics, spine surgery, vascular surgery, cardiothoracic surgery, general plastic surgery, facial reconstructive plastic surgery, microvascular surgery, otorhinolaryngology (ENT), ophthalmology, oral surgery, burn surgery, interventional and diagnostic radiology, and other medical fields are immediately available to care for the most complex injuries.

The Rehabilitation Center at Memorial provides high quality, advanced, and intensive rehabilitation after injury. It has received a rare (less than 40 world-wide) fivefold accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). The Rehabilitation Center provides resources for post-trauma inpatient rehabilitation, brain injury rehabilitation, and spinal cord system of care. Residents and fellows from many SIU training and educational programs add to the impressive resources of the SITC. Providing critical assistance to the physician members of the SITC are a trauma program manager, a trauma nurse specialist, a trauma nurse practitioner, a trauma educator, trauma registrar, outpatient nurses and an administrative assistant.


  • PHTLS - Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support
  • ATLS - Advanced Trauma Life Support (provider, refresher, instructor courses) - Dr. Sutyak teaches instructor courses in conjunction with the Chicago Committee on Trauma as well as for the SITC.
  • TNS - Trauma Nurse Specialist
  • RTTDC (Rural Trauma Team Development Course)
  • TNCC - Trauma Nurse Core Course
  • CDC - More information on Traumatic Brain Injury

The SITC also has two TraumaMan® Systems that were purchased through a $76,000 grant from Springfield Memorial Hospital.  The TraumaMan is an anatomical surgical manikin designed for students to practice a variety of surgical procedures.  It was evaluated and approved by the American College of Surgeons in 2001 as an alternative to live non-human models or cadavers for ATLS, the leading Trauma Training Course. The system is now used to train over 30,000 medical professionals each year.