BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (June 21, 2008) - A Regional Command-East surgeons' conference was held at the Jirga Center here, June 18-19, to bring all senior health care leadership in RC-E together, and to discuss current and projected operations that support the military in theatre.

Each of the surgeons and representatives talked about their missions and accomplishments, as well as their concerns.

"Any time you can come together like this, and listen to what others challenges and accomplishments are, it may improve your own process," said Air Force Maj. Christine S. Taylor, the command chief nurse at Camp Eggers, Kabul. "(Learning from others' mistakes) means you don't have to re-invent the wheel."

Lt. Col. Mark McGrail, a surgical officer with Task Force Medical here, stressed the fact that the surgeon general wanted to get more involved in the psychological stress of servicemembers due to the rise in suicides throughout the military.

He added that as a step towards helping with this problem, they've begun training critical-stress responders, who would be trained in mental first aid.

"Just bringing these trained individuals in will extend the help needed and also create mental health force multipliers," said McGrail.

Conference participants also discussed the medical communications for combat casualty care system, which allows providers to digitally enter patient information and treatment, and creates permanent, electronic medical records.

It also offers commanders greater medical situational awareness.

"This system helps eliminate some main problems (from the past): such as lost records and things not being documented," said M.D. Mandeville, MC4 western regional lead. "It is now mandated by Congress that every servicemember is to have an electronic medical record."

The agenda is to support medical units at all levels, he said.

In discussing this information, they created informational bridges that will be able to be used in the future and helped Afghanistan's future as a whole by making the mission here easier to accomplish, according to officials.