OKINAWA, Japan (NNS) -- Military and civilian health care professionals from installations across Okinawa gathered at the Camp Foster Community Center for a Health Care Provider Symposium Nov. 15.
Hosted by U. S. Naval Hospital Okinawa (USNHO), the theme for the day-long event was "Care Across the Continuum of Deployment".
According to Cmdr. Christopher R. Mannion, Head of USNHO Staff Education & Training Department (SETD) and one of the coordinators for the symposium, the curriculum was initially developed as a training opportunity for U. S. Navy Independent Duty Corpsmen (IDC) to make them better prepared for a deployment.
"It was an opportunity to touch the operational providers - the IDC's - and provide them continuing medical education without requiring them to go TAD," said Mannion.
The series of lectures revolved around the entire spectrum of a deployment rather than strictly focusing on battlefield medicine and working in a deployed environment.
"This island-wide medical symposium is focusing on the continuum of health from pre-deployment, through deployment, to post-deployment," said Lt. Cmdr. Benjamin D. Walrath, USNHO Emergency Medicine department head and symposium organizer.
Due to the nature of the subject matter and its relevance, the event generated interest throughout the entire medical community on Okinawa. As a result, the symposium was made open to all DoD health care providers that wished to attend.
Topics included pre deployment health assessments, preventive medicine pre deployment and in the field, field diagnosis & management of orthopedic injuries, living and working in a ROLE III field hospital, traumatic brain injury, post deployment evaluation and management of wounded warriors, and diagnosis & management of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
"This seminar is a chance to catch up on the latest information. It helps me make sure I have the correct information to set my corpsmen up for success," said Hospital Corpsman First Class Adam D. Redmond, an IDC assigned to 7th Communications Battalion at Camp Hanson.
Fifty health care professionals attended the symposium. Several Navy IDC's were in attendance along with physicians and nurses from all services. The audience also included a surprisingly diverse collection of other military and civilian health care specialties representing the fields of psychology, mental health counseling, social work, and physical therapy.
Dr. Reggie L. Clifton, a civilian chiropractor at USNHO, pointed out that while most civilians may not deploy with operating forces, the material presented at the symposium can help them better understand the patients they care for.
"We as civilian providers need to be able to support active duty providers and their patients. Any time we can get a better understanding of what these folks are going through it can help us help them. It's good for continuity," said Clifton.
The Health Care Provider Symposium may have been a chance to learn more about the operational deployment cycle, earn some continuing medical education credits, and maybe even a day out of the usual work routine for some. But according to symposium organizers, subject matter experts, and attendees, the most important reason to come together that day was to serve the medical needs of the military.
According to Lt. David Bennett, a physician assistant and symposium lecturer, the purpose of the day's training was simple. "Skill enhancement saves lives," he said.
U. S. Naval Hospital Okinawa is the largest overseas military treatment facility in the Navy, serving a beneficiary population of 55,000 active duty personnel, family members, civilian employees, contract personnel, and retirees. The facility also provides referral services for over 189,000 beneficiaries throughout the Western Pacific.
For more news and information about U. S. Naval Hospital Okinawa visit www.navy.mil/sites/nhoki or the hospital's official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usnho.
For more news from U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, visit www.navy.mil/local/usnho/.