By Chanel S. Weaver, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Army Public Health CommandAugust 17, 2015
The U.S. Army Public Health Command Reorganization Rehearsal of Concept (ROC) Drill was held Aug. 4-6 at the Mallette Training Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.
More than 100 attendees participated in the event, including representatives from the Office of the Surgeon General, all five PHC Regions and regional health commands, the USAPHC Commander, Army Institute of Public Health director, portfolio directors, portfolio executive officers and select program managers.
The event, organized by the Strategy and Innovations Office of the USAPHC, allowed participants to rehearse execution of the public health mission under the new Army Medical Command organizational structure and to propose updates to ANNEX Q (Public Health Enterprise) from MEDCOM Operations Order 15-08. The ROC Drill used many different scenarios to rehearse lines of communication and execution for technical public health missions between MEDCOM Public Health Enterprise organizations to synchronize the delivery of public health services across the Army and DOD for the care of the Warfighter, and, in certain situations, aspects of the nation overall.
Personnel were divided into groups, and they rehearsed responding to various public health scenarios that may occur in the future.
"This was a good opportunity to make our voices heard and give our input on how to best perform our mission in the midst of change," said Lt. Col. Gayle McCowin, environmental health engineering portfolio director at the Army Institute of Public Health. "We are experiencing a paradigm shift in public health, and it's exciting to be able to shape the future."
According to Lt. Col. David Derrick, deputy director of technical services at Public Health Command Region-Pacific, the dialogue in the groups was important to the success of the ROC drill.
"It was rewarding to see my colleagues in Army public health and to discuss the most efficient methods for responding to various contingencies," said Derrick.
On the last day of the session, attendees worked to develop a document that outlined the responsibilities of all organizations within the public health enterprise.
Col. Robert von Tersch, commander of the Public Health Command Region-South, said the ROC drill was quite beneficial to attendees.
"The sessions were very informative, and we had good, stimulating discussions that centered on Army public health," said von Tersch. "We identified the procedures that were working and noted the gaps that needed to be filled."
Not only did PHC personnel find the drill worthwhile, but individuals from the regional health commands said attending the ROC drill provided an opportunity to learn more about the USAPHC mission.
"I learned a great deal about what Army public health professionals do," said Lt. Col. Russ Chambers, of the Southern Regional Medical Command's G-3 operations division. "We appreciated being invited to the event."
In his closing remarks, Col. John Teyhen, USAPHC commander, encouraged attendees to remain focused on their mission to promote health and prevent disease, injury and disabilities of Soldiers, military retirees, their families, veterans, Army civilians, government-owned animals and pets of service members and their families.
"It is important that we continue the dialogue and document the best methods for delivering quality public health services," said Teyhen. "We must remain a high-reliability organization that has consistent standards across the public health enterprise."