SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) welcomed Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, on an official visit, April 17.
Tyson toured NHRC's Warfighter Performance Lab and sat down with some of the command's top scientists to learn more about the diverse research being done in support of the operational readiness and health of U.S. 3rd Fleet personnel.
One area of NHRC's research that impacts 3rd Fleet Sailors is environmental physiology. NHRC researchers developed the Automated Heat Stress Monitoring System, which monitors heat stress conditions in engineering and galley workspaces. The system, which has been installed aboard numerous ships throughout the Navy, provides real-time, stay time guidance for watch stander rotations, ensuring the safety of shipboard personnel and saving man hours.
Additionally, scientists discussed ongoing research aimed at improving operational readiness to include:
* Examining different methods for evaluating sleep in operational environments
* Testing and evaluation of personal protective equipment on the biomechanics of marksmanship and walking
* Developing and validating an improved suicide screening tool to help providers more accurately identify service members at risk of suicide
* Conducting long-term epidemiological studies aimed at better understanding the impact of military service on health
* Surveilling for respiratory and enteric pathogens with the potential for degrading readiness
* Evaluating the effectiveness of a vaccine for norovirus, a highly contagious disease that causes vomiting and diarrhea
NHRC's commanding officer, Capt. Rita Simmons, discussed the importance of conducting research with practical application and real-world benefits to warfighters.
"Beyond conducting research in the lab, we take the science to the fleet," said Simmons. "Once we conduct studies in a laboratory simulated environment, we then go out into the field and collect data so we can determine if what we are seeing in the lab translates into the real environment. All the work our scientists do at the bench is driven by fleet requirements so that we can transition our findings to the battlespace and improve the health and readiness of our Sailors and Marines."
Simmons and Tyson also discussed NHRC's powerful medical informatics capabilities. NHRC has a team of scientists who collect, analyze, and interpret medical and administrative data in support of medical planning, casualty estimation, and medical intelligence.
"NHRC developed the Expeditionary Medical Encounter Database, which provides accurate injury and clinical treatment data for casualties from point of injury to definitive care and rehabilitation," said Michael Galarneau, NHRC's director for operational readiness research. "We can use this data to predict the likelihood of injuries and illnesses, given a variety of possible scenarios that range from combat operations to humanitarian missions."
According to Galarneau, the data has been used to look at past care and treatment information to determine which methods have improved survival rates and health outcomes. By understanding the data, military health providers and medical planners can change how they conduct medicine in operational environments based on validated, empirical evidence to save lives and reduce injury.
"Your research is fascinating and I greatly appreciate all that you are doing for 3rd Fleet," said Tyson. "I think there are many opportunities for us to work together because we are all interested in innovating. We want to make sure we have the right tools on our ships and that our people are getting the right training so that our Sailors are health and ready."
As the DoD's premier deployment health research center, NHRC's cutting-edge research and development is used to optimize the operational health and readiness of the nation's armed forces. In proximity to more than 95,000 active duty service members, world-class universities, and industry partners, NHRC sets the standard in joint ventures, innovation, and translational research.
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