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Health Care Training Symposium Attendees Discuss the ‘Battlefield of the Future’

Image of Health Care Training Symposium Attendees Discuss the ‘Battlefield of the Future’. U.S. Army Col. Lee Burnett, the 65th Medical Brigade and Medical Department Activity-Korea commander, asks Brian Lein, the assistant director of Healthcare Administration at Defense Health Agency, a question about modernization efforts during the 73rd annual 38th Parallel Healthcare Training Symposium at the Morning Calm Conference Center, South Korea, Nov. 6, 2023. (U.S. Army photo by Stanley James)

Medical personnel, soldiers, and civilians who provide care to U.S. forces in the Republic of Korea attended the 73rd annual 38th Parallel Healthcare Training Symposium at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys Nov. 6 - 8, where they earned continuing education credits while receiving valuable professional development.

This year’s event theme was “Healthcare Support to the Battlefield of the Future,” focusing on innovations in health care concepts, procedures and equipment, their use by the U.S. Army of 2025 and 2030, and how they will impact health care support on the Korean peninsula.

The Defense Health Agency’s Continuing Education and Program Office within the Education and Training Directorate reviewed all event presentations and awarded continuing education credits to the more than 100 medical professional attendees who provide medical care to the 28,500 service members assigned to U.S. Forces-Korea and their families.

Dr. Lolita O’Donnell, CEPO’s director and chief of the Leadership, Education, Analysis, Development and Sustainment Division said, CEPO’s three major functions are to assess, review and award CE and continuing medical education credits.

“Since CEPO supports a variety of health care disciplines with one application, the 65th Medical Brigade, Medical Activity-Korea was able to offer free continuing education credits for disciplines such as pharmacy, case management, psychology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech, and more,” she said. “We welcome the opportunity to continue to partner and collaborate with DHA health care providers in support of their continuing medical education needs.”

The primary learning objectives for the three-day training event were to summarize patient movement and evacuation during large-scale combat operations at the local, theater, and strategic level, and the current health of the Republic of Korea and its health care system.

U.S. Army Col. Lee Burnett, 65th Medical Brigade, Medical Activity Korea and U.S. Army Maj. Angel Soto, the brigade’s executive officer, who both previously deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, said a majority of wounded and injured soldiers were evacuated out of theater. However, evacuation can be limited for a variety of reasons, and there is more emphasis on rehabilitation and return to duty.

“First, we must stay focused on the basics, like TCCC (tactical combat casualty care), because nothing can substitute for a well-trained combat medic or corpsman at the frontline,” Burnett said, who also served in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. “Second, with hundreds to thousands of potential casualties a day, we need to re-learn how to manage MEDEVAC (medical evacuation) and Role 2 and Role 3 to provide safe, quality health care to that volume of patients.”

Role 2 care includes providing blood products, limited X-ray, laboratory, dental support, combat and operational stress control, and other services. Role 3 refers to a field hospital, which is equivalent to a multidisciplinary general hospital. A field hospital can provide comprehensive medical care for a population of up to 5,000 service members with the capacity to conduct up to 10 surgical procedures a day.

Burnett said this year’s symposium was successful thanks to the tremendous support they received from the DHA CEPO staff.

“They reviewed the symposium’s presentations in a timely fashion, provided honest and transparent feedback on how to improve the presentations, and were always available for questions,” he said.

“CME training refines the skills needed to improve overall patient care and allows the medical professional to stay current with the latest developments within their specialty,” Soto added. “We further tied the professional development of medical professionals to large-scale combat operations in the Korean theater of operations.”

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Last Updated: December 15, 2023
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