JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Regional Health Command-Pacific’s Fall Commander’s Conference was held here, Nov. 2-4.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions for indoor gatherings, the event was a hybrid of in-person and virtual attendees that included the region’s medical, dental and public health commanders, senior enlisted advisors, and other leaders from around the region.
The conference theme, 'Pivot to Medical Readiness in the Pacific,' set the stage for a series of strategic discussions regarding readiness, the reorganization of the U.S. Army Medical Command, Defense Health Agency transition, and RHC-P’s pending reflag to a medical readiness command.
Brig. Gen. Ned Bailey, RHC-P’s commanding general, welcomed more than 40 in-person attendees and dozens more via Microsoft Teams. He said the conference was about building relationships, and encouraged them to take advantage of the opportunity to get to know their fellow command teams.
“No two commands are alike,” Bailey said, “but you do have some similar problem sets, and I ask that you reach out and take advantage of those relationships at the personal level.
The two-and-a-half day event provided a platform for commanders to learn from each other while receiving key updates to facilitate a common understanding of today’s operational environment.
Addressing the team virtually on day one, Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, the Army surgeon general and commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Command, talked about Army Medicine’s pivot to readiness and the ever-important role that commanders of readiness platforms have in maintaining a ready, medical force.
“As the Army modernizes, we’re modernizing also,” Dingle said. “Building readiness is what we do, so we can deploy today and fight tonight, and return to duty when called upon to conserve the fighting strength,” he said.
Dr. Brian Lein, assistant director, DHA Healthcare Operations, led an engaging discussion about the DHA transition, the importance of generating and maintaining readiness in military treatment facilities, the future vision for the Military Health System, and the inextricable link between healthcare and readiness.
“We’re all paving new roads to success,” Lein said. ”This is the biggest and most complex transition we’ve gone through in military medicine, and you’re going to be leading this next generation. I can’t thank you enough for what you’re doing in Army Medicine,” he said.
Speaking on day two, Maj. Gen. Michael Place, commanding general of the 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support), and a former RHC-P deputy commanding general, talked about the changing landscape for future conflicts and the important role commanders have in ensuring their Soldiers are highly trained and proficient in their Individual Critical Task Lists.
Place also expressed his appreciation to the region’s commanders and senior enlisted advisors for what they are doing in support of the Army and nation in a time of great stress.
“I’m enormously proud of you,” said Place, “and I’m proud to be included in your ranks.”
As of Sept. 30, with the exception of the overseas military treatment facilities, all military hospitals are now aligned under the Defense Health Agency.
Maj. Gen. Telita Crosland, deputy surgeon general, provided a comprehensive overview of today’s operational environment and told the commanders that fundamentally, their mission hasn’t changed.
“What you’re delivering has not changed. You’re delivering safe and quality healthcare that enables a trained and ready medical force and keeps our force medically ready in order to do their mission set,” Crosland said.
At the conclusion of the conference, Bailey expressed his appreciation to the team for their participation and focus on relationship building.
“I really appreciate everyone being here and engaged,” Bailey told the team.
Other guest speakers included Col. Shane Mendenhall, deputy commander, 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support); Maj. Jae Chung, U.S Army Pacific; Sungmin Cho, Ph.D., a professor at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies; Brady Reed, The Arbinger Institute; and Dawn Herman, Office of The Army Surgeon General.