HONOLULU -- The Pacific Regional Medical Command continued to break new ground, provide world class health care and stay on the cutting edge of technology in 2012.

Tripler Army Medical Center rang in the New Year with Hawaii's first baby, Faith Erin Fielden, who was born at 12:02 a.m., Jan. 1, 2012.

Continuing with firsts, also in January, Tripler's Interdisciplinary Pain Management Center completed the first minimally invasive lumbar decompression in Hawaii. The state-of-the-art procedure has a lower risk of bleeding, complications and infections than traditional treatment options, and patients feel better within a few days, reducing recovery times and hospital stays.

In February, Maj. Todd Jackson, clinical nurse officer-in-charge, Acute Care Clinic, U.S. Army Health Clinic-Schofield Barracks, was recognized with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Patriot Award for his unwavering support of Guard and Reserve employees.

In March, the Navy Exchange at Pearl Harbor began accepting handwritten prescriptions from civilian physicians, and started providing a secure video teleconference service for patients to speak with a pharmacist, making it easier for patients to pick up their prescriptions.

Primary care clinics across the Pacific launched a secure messaging system in April, giving patients the ability to contact their primary care clinic to request prescriptions, receive test and laboratory results, request appointments and referrals, avoid unnecessary office visits and telephone calls, and access valuable health information online.

Also in April, Tripler held a blessing and lei ceremony for the island's and military's first single room Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The rooms provide the optimal environment for babies' hearing, growth and overall development.

Doctors at Tripler performed the first bronchial thermoplasty within the Army and Hawaii, April 12. The Food and Drug Administration-approved therapy aids in asthma control in severe asthmatics, and may help the Army retain Soldiers who may otherwise be medically discharged.

In May, patients and their families joined staff from Tripler to participate in the 6th Annual Oncology on Canvas. The art program is one of many therapeutic methods that Tripler uses to help its cancer patients and families cope. Despite graduation and Mothers Day events, more than 175 people attended.

In June, Tripler hosted its annual Graduate Professional Health Education Commencement ceremony, where 114 health care professionals were awarded their diplomas.

Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, U.S. Army Surgeon General and commander, U.S. Army Medical Command, visited Pacific Regional Medical Command staff and facilities on the island, June 12-14.

In June, Col. Joseph Bird relinquished command of U.S. Army Health Clinic-Schofield Barracks to Col. Mary Krueger.

Tripler's Medical Simulation Center received its second national recognition when it was awarded the American College of Surgeons accreditation in July. The center is the only center in the Pacific region and the third center in the Department of Defense to have earned the ACS accreditation.

Following suit, Tripler's Sleep Disorders Center earned accreditation from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in August. The accreditation covers areas such as clinical operations, in-lab sleep studies, and out-of-center sleep testing for a period of five years.

The center is Army Medicine's third medical treatment facility, or MTF, to house an accredited Sleep Disorder Center. Adding to that great achievement, the center is the first non-fellowship-affiliated Army MTF to meet the national standards.

Wahiawa Elementary School hosted a dedication ceremony of its new school-based behavioral health building, Aug. 22. Tripler Army Medical Center's School Behavioral Health Team partnered with the Hawaii State Department of Education and The Queen's Medical Center to expand behavioral health services available for children in Hawaii.

Tripler hosted the first behavioral health summit in the Pacific region, Sept. 13-14. At the summit, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine, Navy, local hospital and university behavioral health providers gathered together to share knowledge and discuss the latest tactics, strategies, technologies, systems, treatments, processes and services for patient care.

Brig. Gen. Keith Gallagher relinquished command of PRMC and TAMC to Col. J. Anson Smith, Oct. 4.

Later that month, the Hawaii Psychological Association recognized Tripler as a great place to work with a Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award, Oct. 19. Tripler took top honors in the military organization category.

Tripler hosted a Wreath Laying Ceremony and Fallen Comrade Tribute at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Oct. 29, in honor of Lt. Col. David Cabrera and Staff Sgt. Christopher Newman, on the one year anniversary of the death of the first two behavioral health specialists to be killed in overseas contingency operations.

Col. J. Anson Smith relinquished command of PRMC and TAMC to Brig. Gen. Dennis Doyle, Nov. 1.

Tripler's Junior Officer Council jumped into the holiday season's spirit of giving by sponsoring a hospital-wide Thanksgiving Basket Competition. Clinics, departments and offices donated 25 holiday gift baskets, which were delivered to families in need around the island in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

To close out the year, Tripler hosted more than 15 community groups, civic organizations, local business and schools who helped spread holiday cheer by visiting patients staying at Tripler and families staying at the Fisher House.

Page last updated Thu January 10th, 2013 at 16:00