SANTIAGO, Chile (Nov. 14, 2012) -- Col. (Dr.) James Sheehan, U.S. Army South deputy chief of staff for medical, addressed more than 200 military medical students and doctors at the Hospital Militar de Santiago here, Nov. 6

As a result of the strong relationship between the two armies and previous agreements, the Chilean army Health Command Director, Maj. Gen. Humberto Oviedo asked Sheehan to share U.S. Army's lessons learned in the use of military medical professionals in an operational environment and define how treatment and care has improved for service members back in the United States.

"It's important to share this information because these are lessons we've learned the hard way," said Sheehan.

The visit to the hospital was part of the three-day annual army-to-army staff talks between the U.S. and Chilean armies taking place Nov. 5-7. The staff talks will conclude with U.S. Army South on behalf of the U.S. Army developing a bilateral engagement plan and an agreement between both armies to conduct selected subject matter expert exchanges and training events next year.

Sheehan discussed the U.S. Army's healthcare system structure and the experiences medical professionals gained in Afghanistan, Iraq and in humanitarian and disaster relief operations, which are not only resulting in improved care in military medicine, but also in civilian hospitals.

The Chilean army medical professionals shared their experiences responding to natural disasters, such as earthquakes in their own country.

"Anytime you can provide a partner nation with the insight of the hard fought lessons that we've come across over the years, it helps to improve the care that they give to their personnel. It also helps to improve the relationships between our two armies and nations," said Sheehan.

Similar to the medical engagement event taking place at the Chilean hospital, the staff talks will produce a plan for the two armies to share knowledge and capabilities on a variety of topics and discuss mutual support for future peacekeeping, humanitarian and disaster response operations and exercises.

Sheehan's presentation validated the importance of the staff talks and sharing knowledge with the Chilean army to help develop and expand military medical capabilities for both armies.

"In regard to Colonel Sheehan's presentation, they [Chilean army personnel] were very interested in learning how we have improved Army medicine in caring for Soldiers injured on the battlefield, and how they are cared for during triage, immediate and long-term and all the way through the rehabilitation process," said Col. Tim Hodge, the Army South chief of international military affairs.

"The Chileans, like many of our partners, understand that we have vast experience coming out of wartime posture and some of the things we've learned during that time are being applied to how we conduct day-to-day operations."

During the subject matter expert exchange both armies discussed opportunities to improve capabilities and provide medical care following a disaster or during an operation.

"This helps the Chileans understand that we are very transparent in what we do," said Hodge. "It helps to build confidence in the two armies and we are hoping the Chileans will take advantage of our lessons learned to maximize their efforts in future operations."