Retired Maj. Gen. Dean G. Sienko, former commander of the U.S. Army Public Health Command, returned to Aberdeen Proving Ground May 18 to share some insights with members of his former command.

Sienko currently serves as the associate dean for preventive medicine and public health at the college of medicine at Michigan State University. He provided comparisons of Army and civilian public health.

He addressed about 100 USAPHC technical experts along with Brig. Gen. John Poppe, OTSG deputy chief of staff for public health, Col. John V. Teyhen, III, current USAPHC commander, John Resta, USAPHC deputy for public health and Dr. Amy Millikan-Bell, USAPHC medical advisor.

"Public health in the civilian sector is very broad," explained Sienko. "There is a lot that civilian organizations can learn about population health from the Army because of the wide range of studies done on Army populations."

Sienko continued by quoting Peter F. Drucker, management philosophy leader, and he explained that an organization needs to understand its mission, its customers and their needs, and build a plan that can change and grow with the organization.

"There are many parallels in the public health arena within the Army and civilian worlds," Sienko said. "It is important that there is value for both parties in developing collaborations with government and civilian organizations."

Collaboration requires that government entities follow certain regulations.

"Civilian organizations, especially universities, often need funding for collaborative projects," he explained. "This can make collaboration difficult for organizations like the Army Public Health Command, but USAPHC can offer information, data and sometimes internships as part of a joint relationship."

Sienko also visited other members of the command and said that the Army was ahead of the power curve in the area of corporate wellness.

"Dr. Sienko said that experiences learned from Army Wellness Centers and Army Community Health Promotion Councils could assist the civilian sector in the area of population health," said Millikan-Bell.

Sienko emphasized the importance of leadership in building a solid foundation in the public health arena, Millikan-Bell said.

"I was very happy to return to Public Health Command to make a presentation on collaboration between the Army and civilian public health world," Sienko said. "The Public Health Command is a tremendous national asset whose relevance goes far beyond the confines of military installations."