FORT BENNING, Georgia (Feb. 8, 2019) -- U.S. Army Medical Activity-Fort Benning is currently gearing up to host its 3rd annual Heat Forum on Tuesday, Feb. 26, through Wednesday, Feb. 27 at McGinnis-Wickam Hall (Building 4) on the installation's Main Post.
The informational forum is focused on cultivating collaboration between medical and non-medical leaders to eliminate death from heat stroke and hyponatremia at Fort Benning and possibly other Department of Defense installations. Fort Benning is home of the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence. It is one of the Army's largest training posts, and is responsible for conducting Infantry and Armor Basic Combat Training, the Infantry and Armor Basic Officer Leadership Courses, Maneuver Captain's Career Course, the U.S. Army Airborne School, and Ranger School.
Martin Army Community Hospital sees some of the highest numbers of exertional heat illnesses of anywhere in the DoD. As such, its clinicians are uniquely experienced in mitigating heat related injuries and they're motivated to address this, often overlooked, niche of medicine.
According to Dr. (Maj.) Meghan Galer, assistant chief of BMACH Department of Emergency Medicine, The idea behind the Heat Forum is to bring together leaders and subject matter experts to share best practices for preventing and managing heat-related illness and hyponatremia.
"Heat stroke, hyponatremia, and other exertion-related illnesses are tragic and largely preventable causes of death and disability at Ft. Benning and other hot climate training areas. This spectrum of illnesses has significant negative impact on training and poses risk to the medical readiness of Soldiers," Galer explained.
The upcoming forum is an integral part of the larger "Heat Center" initiative at Fort Benning. By partnering with MCoE, the 75th Ranger Regiment, and other tenant units, as well as researchers from partner organizations such as the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, the team at Benning has developed a collaborative approach focusing on excellence in management, prevention, and research for exertional heat illness. By bringing together leaders, clinicians, researchers, and a high volume of patients, they believe they can positively influence prevention and management, not just at Fort Benning, but throughout the DoD medical community at large.
This year's Heat Forum will be a two-day event. Beginning on the morning of Feb. 26, the first period has been reserved for non-medical leaders, such as brigade and battalion commanders, first sergeants and command sergeants major to discuss best practices and current guidelines for avoiding and managing heat stroke and hyponatremia. The morning will end with a series of live demonstrations. During the afternoon session of Feb. 26 is planned as a point of injury protocol review for cadre and medics. There will also be a social event later that evening to encourage collaboration between clinicians, researchers, and leaders.
February 27 will consist of a medical conference, geared toward a clinical audience complete with subject-matter expert guest speakers from as far as the United Kingdom. During the afternoon session, Feb. 27, by special invitation, there will be Strategic Planning roundtable to discuss road mapping the Heat Center initiative. Both days will also feature static displays, updates on current research initiatives happening now at Fort Benning, and a panel of clinicians and renowned SMEs to answer questions/facilitate discussion.
"Our goal is simple: no more deaths from heat or hyponatremia at Fort Benning. Collaboration is going to be key," Galer said.

Anyone interested in attending the heat forum please contact Else Seifu at: etsehwote.a.seifu.civ@mail.mil.

For additional questions about the Heat Center initiative including the Strategic Planning session please contact. meghan.galer.mil@mail.mil.