ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, May 5, 2011) -- The Hero of Medicine Award was presented May 4, 2011, to Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli for his efforts to help Soldiers with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress.
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine presented the award at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., during a Center for Public-Private Partnerships event.
Chiarelli earned the award, "for his unwavering dedication to our Soldiers, especially those who have been wounded in service, and his vocal stance on the importance of addressing the invisible wounds of war," according to the organization's website.
Many fellow Soldiers learned of this award the following day at the Association for the United States Army Institute for Land Warfare breakfast, where Army Chief of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey was reflecting on his first three weeks in his new position.
"The award he received - this Hero of Military Medicine Award - is really a reflection of the passion (he) brings to that particular issue for our Army," Dempsey said.
"And when you're out there talking to these young men and women who go out of those FOBs (forward operating bases) and who know, especially in Afghanistan that there's a very high likelihood that, first off, they'll be engaged" or hit an IED (improvised explosive device), they leave that FOB, Dempsey said, because they trust that the Army is doing its best to protect them. But they also leave the FOB because they know if they get hurt the Army has a military medicine system behind them that will give them a reasonable chance to survive, he said.
"This is the work of military medicine professionals, some of whom are in this room, including Lt. Gen. Schoomaker, but it's also the work of the vice chief of staff of the Army who has made that such an important part of his day that we've all lined up behind him to put our shoulders to that task."
Other honorees included:
-- Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) for his career-long dedication to advancing military medicine and his continued advocacy for the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences;
-- Army Col. Rocco Armonda, M.D., for providing leading-edge care on the battlefield and at home and his commitment to ensuring that wounded, ill and injured servicemembers achieve the best possible outcomes.
-- The National Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline, for serving as a critical resource for veterans and active-duty servicemembers in dire need of help. The hotline is operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Dr. Nancy Snyderman, chief medical editor at NBC News, hosted the dinner and awards ceremony. She is associate professor of head and neck surgery at the University of Pennsylvania and co-founder of the health website BeWell.com.
"Today in Iraq and Afghanistan, an incredible 90 percent of servicemembers wounded on the battlefield are saved due to tremendous advances in military medical technology and care," read the briefing book for the ceremony.
"But in the wake of these extraordinary achievements, new challenges present themselves. In the life cycle of a patient, the dilemma facing military medical doctors shifts from "How do we save his life'" to more long-term issues such as, "How do we help this Soldier who has lost a leg achieve his goal of returning to duty'" or "How do we help this Marine who has been facially disfigured feel comfortable visiting her child's school'"
For many, including those suffering from post-traumatic stress, returning home is just the start of a protracted rehabilitation process that can include myriad challenges. Simply reintegrating with their families and communities can be a struggle.
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine Inc. provides services to meet the unique needs of military medicine, including research administration, program management and staffing, clinical trials, education support and event planning.
The foundation is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing military medical research. The Foundation, established in 1983, is authorized by Congress to support medical research and education at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and throughout the broader military medical community.
For more information, visit the foundation at www.hjf.org.