JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
Col. Katrina Walters, Commander of the U.S. Army Medical Recruiting Brigade, recently hosted the Army Medicine Experience in San Antonio. The tour showcased all aspects of Army Healthcare to cultivate key stakeholders and community partner relationships.
This two-day event started with a brief overview of the advancements in research conducted at the Brooke Army Medical Center. The attendees were given a tour of the state-of-the-art facilities that comprise BAMC, allowing them to eagerly ask questions and take in the flagship of the military health system.
U.S. Army Medicine leaders have worked to provide 60 attendees, representing 12 states and 17 colleges, a unique perspective that will build relationships between Army Medicine and their respective organizations by displaying the wide range of capabilities in the Army possesses in the medical field.
The experience provided insight into the nature of Army Medicine that civilian community partners might not have been aware of and contested preconceived notions about the life of an Army Medicine provider.
“When I first learned about the Army, I had a negative viewpoint,” admitted Deidre Campbell, MPH, assistant director of pre-professional advising for Johns Hopkins University. “I was pleasantly and thankfully surprised, the training that students receive are world class and knowledge based. The commitment to making a better human, and not just a fighting machine, will give you the skill set to become a leader in the community even after you serve.”
This change in perspective is warmly welcomed by a leader like Maj. Gen. George Appenzeller, Deputy Surgeon General, who spoke on a panel discussing his Army story and the benefits of joining Army Medicine along with Maj. Gen. Michael Talley, Medical Center of Excellence Commanding General; Brig. Gen. Mary Krueger, Commanding General, Medical Readiness Command, East; Brig. Gen. Deydre Teyhen, BAMC Commanding General; Brig. Gen. Michael L. Yost, Deputy Commanding General (OCP), 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support); Col. Matthew Douglas, Graduate Education Program; Col. Steven Kertes, Director Army Grad Program CRNA; Col. Stephanie Mont, Commander of PHC-C/Consultant for 64Bs; Col. Paul Colthirst, Commander of Dental Health Activity (Fort Hood).
The goal of the Army Medicine Experience at its core, is to provide leaders and influencers in the civilian medical community the opportunity to delve deeper into the world of Army Medicine and showcase both the highly trained AMEDD professionals and the wide range of research, technological advancements, and specialized training provided in support of the Army at home and down range.
“Once you’ve seen Army Medicine from our point of view, we hope to grow more partnerships and to find more advocates for a career in the Army within the civilian community and with our civilian partners,” said Col. Katrina Walters, U.S. Army Medical Recruiting Brigade Commander.
After a thorough tour of BAMC, filled with questions and demonstrations of the Army’s abilities within the hospital, attendees were able to visit Camp Bullis and experience how Army medicine translates into the field. Through the Deployable Medical Systems Equipment for Training (DMSET), also known as the Walking Blood Bank Training, and the Combat Paramedic Course, attendees watched as soldiers went through training exercises that mimicked possible deployment scenarios. As attendees transitioned from viewing opportunities in the hospitals to those within the field, as well as talk to those currently in Army Medicine.
Before the conclusion of the Army Medicine experience, the attendees participated in a panel discussion with various leaders in Army Medicine and were able to ask questions and learn more about each person’s personal journey as an Army medical professional. They were also able to learn more about the Graduate Education Programs and partnerships that are currently available for their students from Col. Matthew Douglas.
“The thing that touched me the most was the stories that each individual spoke about,” Sharita Morris, BSN, RN, Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “That always resonates with me because you always have to have a ‘why’ for why you’re doing something, not just doing it.”
With a resounding excitement at the conclusion of the Army Medicine Experience, MRB leaders were able to make a positive impact on the civilians who attended and strengthen civilian community partnerships. MRB leaders have all committed to maintaining the partnerships that have been created at this event. The MRB staff is already planning next year's event.