WASHINGTON, March 26, 2011 -- Four U.S. Army Medical Department officers were honored with Presidential Commendations, March 26, 2011, during the 27th annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, Md.
The award showcases their efforts toward improving comprehensive pain management in the U.S. Army.
The five day American Academy of Pain Medicine conference brings medical experts from the front lines of pain medicine together to discuss and focus on the most up-to-date advances in pain research, evidence-based treatments, and clinical breakthroughs.
The honorees included Lt. Gen. Eric B. Schoomaker, commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Command and the Army's surgeon general; Brig. Gen. Richard W. Thomas, assistant Surgeon General for Force Protection; Col. Kevin Galloway, chief of staff for the Army's Pain Management Task Force; and Col. Chester C. Buckenmaier, chief, Army Regional Anesthesia & Pain Management Initiative, Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
All four were honored with American Academy of Pain Medicine's presidential commendations for their efforts in establishing, researching, training, and leading U.S. Army Medical Command's efforts for the Army's Pain Management Task Force.
"This visionary team has actually looked at the problem of pain in our injured Soldiers from the moment of injury and then taking it back to getting them back into their communities. They have dedicated themselves to good pain care as well as thorough research," said Rollin M. Gallagher, editor, Pain Medicine Journal, American Academy of Pain Medicine.
According to the charter, The Army Pain Management Task Force was established in August 2009 to make recommendations for a U.S. Army Medical Command comprehensive pain management strategy that will approach pain management holistically. The task forces multidisciplinary and multimodal approach provides optimal and effective care of pain, ensuring the quality of life and education for Soldiers and other patients with acute and chronic pain.
"This is a very holistic approach, that was needed to break down styles and boundaries across all of the services," both military and veteran health services and systems, said Schoomaker.
"The effort we have undertaken is really dedicated to patients...The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines on the battlefield who have always unfortunately served as a lesson for improvements in health and healthcare in all wars from the beginning of time," stressed the lieutenant general.
With a level of a standardization and education of pain management across the Department of Defense and Veterans Health Administration, the goal of the task force is to improve and optimize care for servicemembers and their beneficiaries.
Schoomaker spoke briefly after the four team members received their awards. He stressed that this is a team effort, with the expertise and support of a variety of military, Veterans Affairs and civilian medical experts nationally and internationally.
"If we're going to be successful in these ventures, we are teamed with all of you that are sitting here," Schoomaker said, "We are your military, we are here to care for your sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, children and grandchildren, but we can only do this with the support you offer.