Regional Health Command Europe conducted medical training for more than 200 medical providers from across the European theater March 1-3 in Wroclaw, Poland.

The training event was sponsored and coordinated by RHCE and hosted by the Polish Armed Forces, which also included participants from Hungary and Germany.

RHCE conducts medical training events twice a year for U.S. forces in Europe, designed to improve partnerships and medical interoperability with allies, according to COL Ed Michaud, RHCE's Chief of Clinical Operations.

"These events enable us to provide Continuing Medical Education and Operational Medicine Training for our U.S. military medical staff," Michaud said. "And it also helps us to develop partnerships and interoperability with allied medical forces."

During the conference, senior Polish medical officers explained how the Polish Military Medical system works, and several speakers from other NATO countries provided clinical presentations as well.

Two Intensive Medicine Physicians from Balboa Naval Medical Center participated in the training, and helped RHCE establish a Fundamentals of Critical Care Support course. The two-day course is sponsored by the society of critical care medicine, and prepares physicians and other staff to care for critically ill patients.

"In future conflicts we need to prepare our staff to perform "prolonged field care" which includes caring for critically ill patients for an extended period of time on the battlefield," Michaud said. "This course teaches vital skills necessary for medical procedures during contingency operations."

Training participants also received a one-day course in Advanced Burn/Life Support. According to Michaud, burns and blast injuries are common battlefield injuries, and the training helps prepare staff for prolonged field care.

"In any future European Conflict an interoperable NATO force will be necessary to win," Michaud said. "We must have a credible health service support plan and be well trained with our allies in order to support any mission given to our forces anywhere in Europe or beyond.

"Medical interoperability is critical to the readiness of our allied forces. This training helped provide a greater understanding of the medical threat in Europe and what training and interoperability we need to prepare. Our ability to evacuate, and see patients in each other's facilities is crucial to our success on the battlefield."