JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- In support of Regional Health Command-Pacific's (RHC-P) global health engagement mission, a nine-person team from RHC-P, Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington state, and the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, traveled to Dhaka, Bangladesh, to conduct a second Clinical Laboratory and Biopreparedness Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE). The first SMEE was conducted in August 2017.

The goal of the week-long engagement, which took place Aug. 5-8, was to share best practices, strengthen partnerships between the U.S., Bangladesh, and Nepal, and increase readiness for the military participants. Members of the Nepalese and Bangladesh military, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Agency for International Development, and several others agencies, also participated and contributed to the success of this health engagement.

Throughout the week, various topics were presented from multiple perspectives, and discussions covered evolving regional and global perspectives. Participants were also involved in scenario-based tabletop exercises and breakout sessions. They also discussed a variety of medical-specific topics ranging from pre-and-post deployment medical screenings to waterborne diseases to bioterrorism.

There are many benefits that come with these types of engagements, but most importantly, they provide the opportunity for the U.S. military to strengthen relationships with partner nations and other key stakeholders.

"These SMEEs help to build stronger collaborations between our military and civilian government, and the Bangladesh military and civilian government agencies, to strengthen pandemic preparedness capacities," explained Maj. Jason Smedberg, deputy chief, Microbiology at Madigan, and SMEE lead planner.