Leaders gather to discuss health engagement issues

| April 21, 2011 | 0 Comments

Christine Morrice
Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance Public Affairs

Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance

Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance

MARINE CORPS BASE-HAWAII — Sixty-five senior-level strategy and medical military officers from U.S. combatant commands, including U.S. Pacific Command, gathered to discuss the Department of Defense’s health engagement strategies at the Combatant Command Strategic Health Engagement Forum, here, April 12-14.

PACOM and the Center for Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance organized the forum.

“I think this is the first time we’ve been able to talk like this … in a group that cuts across all the COCOMs,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Daniel Darnell, deputy commander, PACOM, in his opening remarks.

Brig. Gen. Keith Gallagher, commander, Pacific Regional Medical Command and Tripler Army Medical Center, presented the U.S. Army-Pacific’s Strategic Health Engagement Program at the forum.

“(TAMC) is a peacetime hospital, but it does take casualties from the war zone,” Gallagher said.

“As we engage with these countries … our guys will go over there and work in their (military) hospitals and they, in turn, will come and observe us in our hospitals,” he added, in reference to relationships that USARPAC is building with partner nations in the Pacific area of responsibility. “These things go a long way to building capacity and relationships. We learn from them, and they learn from us.

“The most important thing is establishing and nurturing relationships and keeping them strong after we leave,” Gallagher continued. “Support them in the future.”

Dr. Jonathan Woodson, U.S. assistant secretary of defense for Health Affairs and the director for Tricare Management Activity, emphasized the importance of health engagements in reducing the load of the military in building goodwill abroad.

“Our job is to lighten the load of our military,” he said. “Whatever missions, policies or engagements we undertake need to ensure that we enable our young men and women (in the military) with the least stress as possible.”

A number of health engagement activities were discussed during the conference, including Medical Civic Action Programs that occur with overseas exercises, such as Cobra Gold in which Soldiers from USARPAC participate. The response to the recent tsunami/earthquake disaster in Japan, from which some of the participants had recently returned, was also discussed.

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Category: Health, News

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