If you were seriously injured, is there a trauma center near you to give you the expert critical care you need? According to a new study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, the answer depends on where you live. The good news is, the number of trauma centers has doubled since 1991. The bad news is, that there are still communities in the United States where access to trauma care is still inadequate. Dr. Ellen Mackenzie and her colleagues at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, along with researchers from four other institutions around the country, surveyed every accredited trauma center in the U.S. They started the study before September 11th, 2001, but that terrorist attack gave their work new meaning. Researchers found that the medical community now has to make sure that communities around the nation are ready for potential disasters. There are 453 level one and two trauma centers located in our nation, and they are staffed and equipped to handle the most serious injuries. On the other hand, there are 701 three, four and five level trauma centers. These centers are also devoted to providing critical, emergency care, but the most seriously injured patients still may need to be transferred to a level one or two trauma center. Dr. Mackenzie says every American should have access to a trauma center, and if they don't, should find out how to advocate for the development of one in their community. She says that although states are strapped for cash these days, every state should find a way to invest in a trauma system. She says we need them to respond to acts of terrorism. For more information, log on to www.jama.com.