By Maria Tolleson, Army Medical Command Public AffairsJune 28, 2011
SAN ANTONIO, Texas, June 28, 2011 -- Army Medicine has evolved tremendously since the first attempt was made to stem the flow of blood on the battlefield. This was the theme expressed by Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, Army Surgeon General, who addressed thousands of attendees at the Army Medical Command’s Training Symposium, held in San Antonio June 27-29, 2011.
The three-day conference opened with remarks by Mayor Julian Castro who referred to San Antonio as Military City USA. He credited the number of service members and retirees with keeping a sense of community and connection in San Antonio, even as it has grown to be the seventh largest city in the nation.
Schoomaker then addressed the assembly for the last time as the Army Surgeon General. “Army Medicine is an integral part of what keeps the Army strong,” he said. “Meeting Warrior needs for everything from battlefield injuries and illness to preventive health, keeping them ready and resilient; and meeting the needs of the Military Family, beneficiaries, and retirees.”
He showed a brief video with a quote from former Army Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Richard A. Cody who said, “When I think of Army strong, I think of Soldiers " their doctors, nurses, their therapists and technicians. The people who stare death in the face and say… not on my watch…not in my emergency room…not in my ward…not today…not this Soldier.”
“It still sends chills down my spine every time I hear it,” Schoomaker said.
One of the reasons we are able to proclaim, “Not today… Not this Soldier,” he said, is because Army Medicine is a learning organization that has evolved continually since our early roots during the Revolutionary War.
He mentioned contemporary initiatives such as the Joint Trauma Training System, the Pain Management Task Force, and the Dismounted Complex Blast Injury Task Force. He also mentioned the HIV vaccine which the Army helped develop in concert with numerous partners to include the Thai government " a breakthrough which Time Magazine recognized as one of its Top Ten significant medical breakthroughs for 2009.
“As a direct result of 10 years of conflict, I believe Army Medicine is in the midst of a significant transition; one focused on addressing a broad range of health and one that places the patient at the center; ultimately responsible for holistically addressing his or her health needs--mind, body, and spirit, social and family fitness,” he said.
Among the advances he cited was the evolution of the Medical Corpsman to the Combat Medic, Rapid Aeromedical Evacuation, the significant gains made in the treatment and management of Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury, increased access to and reduction of stigma associated with Behavioral Health Care, the creation of Warrior Transition Units and the development of Community Based Medical Homes.
The MEDCOM Symposium boasted such presenters as the Surgeon Vice Admiral Philip Raffaelli, Surgeon General, Queens Honorary Physician; Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki; the Surgeon General of the U.S. Air Force LTG Charles Green; Commandant, Medical Education and Training Campus, Rear Admiral William Kiser; and Deputy Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, Lt. Gen. David Fridovich.
The training sessions included tracks on Army Nursing, Balanced Scorecard/Lean Six Sigma, Culture of Trust, Emergency Management, Human Resource Management, Logistics, Patient Administration and Warrior Transition Unit.
Each day of the symposium featured a special presentation conducted within the Exhibit Hall. The first was a broad overview of Regenerative Medicine, another dealt with the Army’s Comprehensive Pain Management Campaign Plan, and the final day featured the Army Medical Home, an initiative to place clinics in communities with high Soldier Family densities.
Schoomaker closed his remarks with a reminder that each war brings new challenges.
“Like our predecessors, we have adapted, evolved and continually improved in the realm of science, material, TTPs (Tactics, Techniques & Procedures), and clinical guidelines. An extremely tough enemy coupled with increased battlefield survival rates are resulting in increased wounded service members with multiple amputations, and complex and devastating injuries"some plain to see and some hidden. They will require our clinical and emotional support for years to come. With the trust of Families and Partners, Army Medicine, and our fellow Medical Departments in other services and the VA, we will return our Wounded Warriors to maximum health.”