HONOLULU - The U.S. Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Nadja West, commander of U.S. Army Medical Command, visited Tripler Army Medical Center, June 19-21, as part of a strategic visit to Hawaii.

During the visit, West spoke with senior leaders, toured the Tripler Medical Simulation Center, and visited wounded warriors at the Warrior Transition Battalion. She also hosted a town hall for staff members, beneficiaries, and other Army Medicine personnel throughout the area to discuss priorities and the future of Army Medicine.

"The Surgeon General is very focused on ensuring that we know readiness is job one, the top priority, and there is no other priority. And it's great that she is here to convey that message," said Col. Andrew Barr, commander, Tripler Army Medical Center.

In keeping with TSG's focus on readiness, Tripler has embraced a three-fold readiness model: to support a medically ready force, a ready medical force, and build a future of readiness through the hospital's medical education programs and global health engagements.

Tripler's Medical Simulation Center is a significant component to ensuring medical personnel are highly trained and ready to deliver quality health care on the battlefield, in garrison, and clinical environments.

The center was built in 2008 in response to graduate medical education requirements and to support redeployment efforts. Since then, its utilization has grown exponentially.

During the visit, West acknowledged the work that is being done at Tripler's simulation center, as part of supporting a ready medical force is to ensure providers have opportunities to maintain readiness-related clinical skills.

"Tripler is doing great things with simulation here," said West.

Programs such as Simulation Training for Operational Medicine Providers, the 68W Sustainment Program for combat medics, the Enlisted Patient Care Course, and the Trauma Systems Assessment Course offer education and training opportunities that cover a full range of medical specialties at Tripler.

During the TSG's town hall, TAMC staff members had an opportunity to ask questions about the future of Army Medicine. One of the questions came from Tripler's chief of Sleep Medicine.

"As DHA (the Defense Health Agency) is rolled out, we know we are going to see changes, but what kind of changes do you see coming to the deployed service member?" asked Maj. Jordanna Hostler.

West explained, "I think these are really exciting times for us in Army Medicine. Ways that we are doing things will be challenged, but that's in our Army as well."

"If you're tracking, we are standing up a whole new command, Army Futures Command, so the DHA change is just one aspect," West said. "But how will that affect our deployed Soldiers? I can guarantee that it will not change because that is what we're here for."

Army Medicine enables the medical readiness of the Total Army. Unit commanders are responsible for soldier readiness but rely on Army Medicine's technical expertise and capabilities to prevent, identify, and treat health problems, while optimizing the performance of healthy soldiers.

"We do a lot in Army Medicine in all the different areas, but what we're here for is to make sure our operational forces are supported," added West.