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    Health Affairs Secretary Visits San Diego Facilities; Discusses Importance of Readiness, Quality Health Care

    Health Affairs Secretary Visits San Diego Market Facilities

    Photo By Marcelo Calero | SAN DIEGO (Sept. 14, 2023) Dr. Lester Martinez-Lopez, Assistant Secretary of Defense...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Naval Medical Center San Diego

    SAN DIEGO (Sept. 14, 2023) —The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Dr. Lester Martinez-Lopez, visited the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) San Diego Market from Sept. 13-14, touring research and medical facilities and meeting with staff to discuss the unique challenges facing Southern California’s medical treatment facilities.

    Dr. Jonathan Woodson, President of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, accompanied Secretary Martinez-Lopez throughout the trip, engaging with medical professionals and scientists at both Navy Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) and Naval Health Research Center.

    Leading one of America’s largest and most complex health care institutions, Secretary Martinez-Lopez was keenly interested in discovering more about how military health system members in the San Diego Market support warfighters, family members, and retirees.

    “Over the past several months, I have learned more from my visits to Military Health System facilities and those of our partners in industry and academia than I could have through briefings alone,” said Secretary Martinez-Lopez. “The open exchange of information with the people doing the work on the ground is invaluable – giving me a clearer picture of our challenges, but also inspiring confidence in our ability to meet them.”

    One key opportunity to engage with staff was in the form of an All Hands Call at NMCSD, that was live streamed to Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton to provide staff supporting the Marine Corps’ preeminent combat training base an opportunity to hear directly from the MHS leaders and to voice their sentiments.

    The resounding message from Secretary Martinez-Lopez during the All Hands Call was an appreciation for the commitment and hard work of the San Diego Market, a reaffirmation that we will continue to offer premier health care to our beneficiaries, and issued an inflection point of how the San Diego Market is part of the broader Military Health System.

    “It’s an incredible honor to have Secretary Martinez-Lopez host a town hall here at NMCSD,” said Rear Adm. Guido Valdes, the San Diego Market Director and Commander of Naval Medical Forces Pacific. “It is invaluable for our military and civilian staff members to hear directly from the Secretary on how expeditionary medicine and health care delivery are continuing to evolve.”

    Touring the Bioskills and Simulation Training Center and the Virtual Medical Operations Center (VMOC) enabled NMCSD to showcase the value of capabilities that ushers military medicine into capabilities beyond the confines of the hospital.

    “The VMOC’s value is in the added reach of surgeons through tele-surgical mentoring,” explained Capt. Tricia VanWagner, Virtual Health San Diego Market Lead and Indo-Pacific Virtual Medical Center Director. “Additionally, critical care physicians and nurses can also extend their reach by providing consultation across not only the Military Health System, but also into austere operational environments.”

    The DHA mission of health care delivery is equally rooted in building a modernized, integrated, and resilient system by taking advantage of scientific and technological advancements, expanding partnerships, and adopting new models of health and wellness to optimize the health and overall care of our beneficiaries.

    “Many outside our military treatment facility don’t realize that NMCSD is a cutting-edge research facility and that we partner regularly with outside health networks to offer our knowledge, skills, and abilities to elevate our capabilities and ensure that we offer extraordinary experiences and exceptional outcomes to all beneficiaries: anytime, anywhere – always,” stated Capt. Elizabeth Adriano, NMCSD Director. “It’s important that our military medicine leadership sees first-hand that principles of high reliability drive our entire organization in support of our pursuit of excellence.”

    “I am very grateful the Secretary had a chance to meet the extraordinary men and women of Navy Medicine,” added Valdes. “These dedicated professionals who continue to face manpower and resource challenges are providing world-class health care here in southern California and across the globe — wherever warfighters may serve.”

    The mission of NMCSD is to prepare service members to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver high quality health care services and shape the future of military medicine through education, training and research. NMCSD employs more than 6,000 active-duty military personnel, civilians and contractors in southern California to provide patients with world-class care anytime, anywhere.


    Date Taken: 09.14.2023
    Date Posted: 09.14.2023 22:57
    Story ID: 453488

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