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    Navy Surgeon General Highlights Supporting Service Members and COVID response during AMSUS Conference

    Military Senior Medical Leaders Meet for 2020 Association of Military Surgeons of the United States

    Photo By BUMED PAO | The military’s top medical leaders pose for a photo after presenting Senior...... read more read more



    Story by Ed Gulick 

    U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

    The top military medical leaders came together virtually as a panel during the annual Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS) Conference to discuss the top challenges they are facing including end strength reductions, facility restructuring, COVID-19 and the transition of medical facilities to the Defense Health Agency (DHA).

    Rear Adm. Bruce Gillingham, Navy Surgeon General and Chief, U.S. Navy of Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, discussed that while DHA is moving forward in military treatment facility administration and care, his focus is on the readiness of Sailors and Marines.

    “The reason that we are in uniform is to support the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps,” said Gillingham, “and to make sure that we are supporting them in line with their intent as they support the National Defense Strategy.”

    He emphasized that COVID-19 has dramatically emphasized that role and not only in medical care, but also in military installation support which includes public health guidance so installation commanders can make the best choices to protect everyone on an installation. “It’s about keeping the Fleet or the Marine Corps healthy and ready to go. That remains paramount,” Gillingham said.

    When Rear Adm. Gillingham became the Surgeon General, his view of military medicine was primarily “projecting medical power in support of naval superiority, that was frankly, combat casualty care,” he said. But that broadened substantially when COVID-19 disrupted operations for the Navy and Marine Corps.

    “I would say for Navy that it [COVID-19] really has accelerated our approach to be one Navy Medicine. To really bring the entirety of our expertise to bear,” he said. The unique nature of Public Health experts, scientists, especially infectious disease specialists, logisticians all coming together to face this pandemic had a tremendous impact on his thinking.

    In response to the dynamic environment, Navy Medicine started synthesizing the various best practices, published research and specific CDC and other government agency guidance into a weekly scientific report. The report is shared with Service leaders, installation commanders and medical professionals to aide in decision making at each level.

    Among the scientific papers presented in the science update was a study that was designed, approved and carried out by Navy researchers that provided closer examination of how best to keep Marine recruits healthy. The paper was eventually published by the New England Journal of Medicine and provided invaluable guidance on the spread of the virus in young adult populations. Another study, conducted with the Centers for Disease Control, was also published on how COVID spread on a ship, including a focus on asymptomatic spread.

    Other topics discussed during the panel included the military treatment facility transition to the Defense Health Agency, service medical end strength reductions and the MTF review and restructuring of certain facilities.

    Additional panelists included the Honorable Thomas McCaffrey, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs; the Army and Air Force Surgeons General; the Director of DHA; the Joint Staff Surgeon and the President of Uniformed Services University.



    Date Taken: 12.10.2020
    Date Posted: 12.10.2020 15:12
    Story ID: 384696
    Location: FALLS CHURCH, VA, US 

    Web Views: 373
    Downloads: 0