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    Naval Hospital Jacksonville staff return from humanitarian mission

    Comfort Visits Panama

    Photo By Spc. Dedrick Johnson | 190810-A-OQ942-1007 COLON, Panama (Aug. 10, 2019) Cmdr. Mary Gracia, from McAllen,...... read more read more



    Story by Yan Kennon 

    Naval Hospital Jacksonville

    Twenty-six staff from Naval Hospital Jacksonville and Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Jacksonville returned on Nov. 19 from a humanitarian deployment aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) in support of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative.

    “Our staff deploy to support DoD missions around the world, anytime, anywhere,” said Capt. Matthew Case, NH Jacksonville commander and NMRTC Jacksonville commanding officer. "They all did amazing work and left many citizens of this world in a better place because of their life-changing, and in some cases life-saving, work."

    Deployed personnel from NH Jacksonville and NMRTC Jacksonville included clinical and non-clinical staff: physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, the director of nursing services, a physical therapist, a dietician, a nurse case manager, an environmental health officer, hospital corpsmen, culinary specialists, information systems technicians, a logistics specialist, a personnel specialist, and a yeoman.

    The experience brought joy and tears to NH Jacksonville’s Cmdr. Mary Gracia, a nurse practitioner who commonly saw children who were malnourished and with stunted growth. “We’ve impacted lives with our presence,” Gracia said. She recalled that one father and his seven-year-old son walked three days to get to a medical site. Gracia also noted that the medical team created culturally-appropriate care plans, unique to the living conditions of each patient, since some families were homeless, didn’t have utilities, or didn’t have a refrigerator or stove. A physician in Colombia told Gracia, in Spanish, “You have touched me in ways I did not expect to see. You genuinely care for my people.”

    Comfort’s Enduring Promise initiative included a crew of more than 900 military and civilian personnel, with medical specialists from the U.S. military, volunteers from non-governmental organizations, and personnel from partner nations.

    During the five-month mission, USNS Comfort visited 12 countries in 154 days, including Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Peru, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, and Haiti. The embarked medical team treated 68,935 people; conducted 1,257 surgeries; distributed 30,862 prescription glasses; and conducted over 60 subject matter expert exchanges and 40 community relations events.

    The deployment reflects the United States’ ongoing commitment to friendship, partnership, and solidarity with partner nations in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

    Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Jacksonville (co-located with Naval Hospital Jacksonville) ensures warfighters’ medical readiness to deploy and clinicians’ readiness to save lives. NH Jacksonville and NMRTC Jacksonville deliver quality health care, in an integrated system of readiness and health. NH Jacksonville includes five branch health clinics across Florida and Georgia. It serves 163,000 active-duty and retired sailors, Marines, soldiers, airmen, guardsmen, and their families, including about 75,000 patients who are enrolled with a primary care manager. To find out more, visit



    Date Taken: 11.19.2019
    Date Posted: 11.19.2019 14:51
    Story ID: 352394
    Location: JACKSONVILLE, FL, US 

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