The role of Navy medicine researchers in improving Warfighter readiness and survivability
Leaders from Navy Medicine spoke about the impact of research and development and highlighted specific research initiatives during a Navy breakout session at the recent 2018 Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS). The event is a scientific meeting focused on the unique medical research needs of the US armed forces and their families. Scientists from across the Department of Defense (DoD) and their partners from across industry and academia shared information about current and future research initiatives designed to improve the health, readiness, and survivability of warfighters, on and off the battlefield.
Rear Adm. Bruce Gillingham, director, medical resources, plans and policy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, spoke to Navy medicine researchers about the importance of finding solutions to the challenges sailors, marines, soldiers, and airmen face today and in battle spaces of the future.
“The next fight is going to be very different from what we’ve faced in past conflicts,” said Gillingham. “We need to look beyond the golden hour to the platinum ten minutes. What are we doing to stop the bleeding? What are we doing to ensure our hospital corpsmen have the training they need? I know you are all working on these and other fundamental issues our warfighters face. There’s a tremendous energy and enthusiasm in this room and it’s good to know people of your calibre are tackling these problems.”
Gillingham also challenged the researchers to look to alignment, with the needs of operational forces and each other. He encouraged everyone to do all they could to take advantage of the opportunity MHSRS provides to meet scientists and partners they can work with: “Innovation occurs through the collision and exchange of ideas,” he added. “Are we bumping into the people we can work with at this meeting?”
Echoing that sentiment was Capt. Adam Armstrong, commander, Naval Medical Research Center, which has oversight of eight research labs located around the globe, who also spoke to the scientists gathered at the Navy breakout session. “What I like about this meeting is that we can start conversations,” Armstrong said. “We can discuss different aspects of research and we can keep talking and exchanging thoughts. We can take advantage of the synergy in this room and bring it back to our labs and our research.”
In addition to comments from Gillingham and Armstrong, a panel of researchers highlighted a few of Navy medicine’s current science and technology initiatives, including the use of bacteriophages for the treatment of multidrug-resistant infections, medical evacuations and en route care for injured warfighters, and treatments for motion sickness. These topics will also be presented by Navy Medicine researchers during regular breakout sessions throughout the symposium. Other topics that will be presented by Navy scientists include:
• TBI rehabilitation
• Telehealth for increasing access to behavioural health care
• Human performance and survivability in extreme environments
• Precision medicine in critical care for the injured warfighter
• Mitigating physiologic episodes in aviation
• The health and readiness of military families (a new session topic this year, proposed by one of our Navy Medicine researchers).