SILVER SPRING, Md. – Navy physicians from the Naval Medical Research & Development (NMR&D) enterprise, alongside colleagues in the Army and Air Force, highlighted the crucial role of overseas medical research laboratories at a presentation during the American College of Physicians (ACP) Tri-Service Chapters 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting on November 8.
The presentation, titled “Department of Defense Overseas Medical Research Laboratories,” explained service member and global health benefits of the research performed by six overseas Army and Navy military infectious disease laboratories.
Global Health Engagement (GHE) enhances the readiness of DoD medical forces by building partner nation capacity and promoting stability and security. Presenters discussed each overseas lab’s role, mission, recent accomplishments and contributions to force health protection for the U.S. military.
“GHE is defined by the DoD as health-related activities between a DoD entity and a partner nation with aims of enabling interoperability, building capacity and capability of our partners’ healthcare systems, and maintaining influence and access for the DoD,” explained Air Force Col. Charla Geist, one of the presenters, and GHE liaison to the Office of the Joint Surgeon General, National Guard Bureau. “The overseas labs, a constant presence of the DoD in their host nations, are a prime example of how effectively GHE meets its objectives while also serving readiness and force health protection roles for U.S. service members.”
Cmdr. Nehkonti Adams, an infectious diseases specialist assigned to Naval Medical Research Command (NMRC), Cmdr. Marshall Hoffman, an internal medicine specialist with U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit (NAMRU) SOUTH in Lima, Peru, and Lt. Cmdr. Danielle Pannebaker, an infectious diseases specialist from NAMRU SOUTH, provided an overview of the NMR&D enterprise with a focus on Navy Medicine’s NAMRUs in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia.
In addition to NAMRU SOUTH, Navy presenters discussed the activities of NAMRU EURAFCENT, headquartered out of Sigonella, Italy, and NAMRU INDO PACIFIC, headquartered out of Singapore.
“Like other Navy and Army medicine overseas research labs, NAMRU SOUTH contributes to U.S. force health protection by studying the prevalence of infectious disease threats where service members deploy, and by researching improved ways to detect, prevent and treat these diseases,” explained Hoffman.
Army physicians Maj. Edgie-Mark Co, an internal medicine specialist from U.S. Army Medical Directorate – Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences (USAMD-AFRIMS) in Bangkok, Thailand, and Col. David Saunders, director of the Translational Medicine Unit at the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine, spoke about the Army’s Medical Research & Development Command, and its labs in Asia, Africa and Europe. The labs discussed include USAMD-AFRIMS, U.S. Army Medical Research Directorate (USAMRD)-Africa in Kenya and USAMRD-Georgia in Tbilisi, Georgia.
“AFRIMS continues to be the premier DoD overseas medical research laboratory in Southeast Asia,” remarked Maj. Co. “It has made substantial contributions to global health by developing medical countermeasures, building local capacity, assisting with public health emergency responses and fostering collaborations and friendships within the INDOPACOM area of operations.”
Hoffman expressed enthusiasm about showcasing the labs’ histories and accomplishments, emphasizing the importance of the joint-service aspect of the ACP meeting.
“The purpose of this talk is to update our military internal medicine physician colleagues about the Army and Navy overseas labs,” he said. “These labs share a focus on studying infectious disease threats to improve force health protection for the U.S. military, but all of them do so in their own ways. It was a lot of fun to delve into the labs’ histories and accomplishments side-by-side in this meeting’s joint environment.”
The ACP Tri-Service Chapters Annual Scientific Meeting is a 3-day event that brings together internal medical physicians from the Army, Navy, and Air Force to exchange insights on the latest updates in their field.
The NMR&D enterprise, led by NMRC, is engaged in a broad spectrum of activity from basic science in the laboratory to field studies in austere and remote areas of the world to investigations in operational environments. In support of the Navy, Marine Corps, and joint U.S. warfighters, researchers study infectious diseases, biological warfare detection and defense, combat casualty care, environmental health concerns, aerospace and undersea medicine, medical modeling, simulation, operational mission support, epidemiology and behavioral sciences.
|SILVER SPRING, MD, US|
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