NAVAL AIR STATION PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- The Naval Aerospace Medical Institute (NAMI) announced Oct. 21 that is was awarded accreditation by the American Council on Education (ACE), the nation's most visible and influential higher education association.
NAMI, the Navy's premier organization for training Navy and Marine Corps aeromedical officers, underwent an ACE curriculum review, something NAMI Deputy Director of Training Lt. Cmdr. T. E. Sather, MSC, said validates the top-notch training and ensures only the best and brightest support Naval Aviation.
"Having ACE evaluate our aeromedical courses against civilian criteria [like those used by Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Johns Hopkins University for example] provides us the benefit of knowing we're providing a level of instruction commensurate with universities throughout the country," he said. "This makes it possible for our students to transfer those credits to civilian universities. It also provides us a report card on where we can make process improvements in our curriculum and testing methodologies, ensuring we are evaluating our students against an appropriate level and thereby meeting the needs of the fleet as efficiently as possible."
ACE represents the presidents of U.S. accredited, degree-granting institutions, including two- and four-year colleges, private and public universities, and nonprofit and for-profit entities. The council is comprised of more than 1,800 member institutions, and collaborates with Department of Defense to review military training and experiences, and recommend appropriate college credit for members of the armed forces.
Sather said NAMI's evaluation and subsequent accreditation marked the first time NAMI's catalog of courses was completely evaluated; previous accreditations included only the Flight Surgeon and Aerospace Medical Technician (HM-8406) courses.
"This inclusion ensures all students are given an opportunity to receive college-level credit for our courses of study to apply toward associate and bachelor's degrees for our enlisted students, master's or doctoral degrees for our aerospace physiologists and psychologists, and master's degrees in public health for the officer corps as a whole," he said. "This provides value by saving the Navy both time and money."
NAMI provides technical and professional support, aeromedical consultative services, develops and administers medical standards for Naval Aviation and trains medical personnel for aeromedical operational requirements. NAMI is the sole Navy source for aeromedical training at all levels, training more than 240 aeromedical providers - including aerospace medicine technicians - and all categories of aeromedical officers, including those from foreign allies like Germany, France, Israel, Canada, Norway and the Netherlands.
"NAMI is truly an internationally recognized Center of Excellence, and having ACE accreditation gives us a level of checks and balances to ensure we are continually providing the appropriate level of instruction to meet the needs of the fleet," he said. "The 'what' we teach is provided by the needs of the fleet, and the 'how' we teach and 'to what level' are vetted by having the ACE accreditation. ACE accreditation means we are meeting the needs of the Navy in not only a professional way but also at a collegiate/university level, giving our students the most bang for the buck."
Sather said aeromedical officers, dependent on their specialties, will have these possible credits available to further professional career goals, something that could be used toward potential credentialing and certification. He added that enlisted service members also benefit from the ACE accreditation by having the opportunity to apply credits toward an associate or bachelor's degree.
Sather pointed out that the accreditation highlights how NAMI directly supports the Navy Surgeon General's readiness, value and jointness priorities.
"According to our estimation, BUMED and Big Navy have the potential to annually save $1.35 million in tuition costs alone, not to mention the time that will be saved in obtaining each student's respective career goals via DUINS or other programs that take a service member out of their specialty," Sather said. "The Navy's readiness is increased by providing the best, most highly trained, aeromedical personnel within DoD. Increasing our readiness also increases our ability to support DoD in any venture requiring our Sailors to work with other branches of the military, particularly since the Navy has the premier aeromedical training programs and training facilities in DoD."
Navy aerospace physiologists are involved in survival training, research, development, testing and evaluation to improve aviator performance and aircrew survivability, and aeromedical operational and safety programs.
NAMI is a component of the Navy Medicine Operational Training Center (NMOTC), the recognized global leader in operational medical and aviation survival training, which reports to Navy Medicine Education and Training Command (NMETC). NMETC manages Navy Medicine's formal enlisted and officer education and training programs, medical operational training for medical and medical support personnel deploying worldwide, and training that prepares aviators and flight crews to survive in land and water mishaps.
NAMI, NMOTC and NMETC are all part of the Navy Medicine team, a global health care network of Navy medical professionals around the world who provide high-quality health care to eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ships, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.
For more news from Navy Medicine Education and Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/nmsc/.