Mercy Conducts Final Multinational Expert Exchange

Story Number: NNS080904-05Release Date: 9/4/2008 6:52:00 AM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Joseph Seavey, Fleet Public Affairs Center Pacific San Diego

CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia (NNS) -- USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) conducted her final subject matter expert exchange (SMEE) for the Pacific Partnership 2008 mission Aug 30.

While anchored off of Weno island in Chuuk state, Mercy crew members provided hands-on training both aboard the ship and at the Chuuk state hospital.

The Pacific Partnership mission is in support of and in cooperation with the Federated States of Micronesia government and partner nations, including representatives from Canada and India, along with non-governmental organizations from Project Hope and University of California at San Diego Pre-dental society.

"Subject matter expert exchange is when Mercy personnel work alongside their host nation counterparts, exchanging information about current practices in an effort to improve relations and increased knowledge," said Lt. Cmdr. April Scheunemann, training officer aboard Mercy.

Mercy physicians and non-governmental organizations conducted a series of lectures incorporating one-on-one interaction.

"Pacific Partnership nurse educators, physicians and bio-med technicians conducted a nine-day series of lectures, biomedical engineering repair and training, and subject matter expert exchanges at the Chuuk state hospital," said Scheunemann.

"Also, lectures were held on Mercy. SMEE participants also included the majority of the partner nations and [non-governmental organizations], as well as military personnel."

The SMEE covered a variety of medical areas, including advanced cardiac life support, trauma surgery, oral and throat cancer, trauma in pregnancy, myocardial infarction and shock. The SMEE organizers hope the interactive events will leave behind a knowledge base that will continue to serve the local population long after Mercy's visit.

"The host nation participants were very receptive to the training provided," said Scheunemann. "Participants were interactive and interested in learning. The staffs on the units working with the nursing staff providing SMEE were very happy to have us working side-by-side. The staff asked lots of questions and were very thankful."

According to Scheunemann, a native of Silverdale, Wash., SMEEs are important to Pacific Partnership and provide an opportunity to build a relationship between health care providers from different parts of the world.

"It has been a rewarding experience," said Scheunemann. "I have traveled and worked with people I never would have the opportunity to."

The visit by Mercy to Micronesia exemplifies the longstanding ties between the U.S. and Micronesia, as well as Navy's commitment to work together to address mutual issues and concerns. U.S. commitment to the people, the region, and regional peace and stability are integral to the Pacific Partnership mission.

For more news from Pacific Partnership 2008, visit

Lt. Cmdr. Rich Kolanda, a dentist from the U.S. Public Health Service, performs a tooth extraction during a Medical and Dental Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) held on Uman, an island in Chuuk State, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).
080824-N-9689V-001 CHUUK STATE, Federated States of Micronesia (Aug. 24, 2008) Sarasota, Fla.-native Lt. Cmdr. Rich Kolanda, a dentist from the U.S. Public Health Service, performs a tooth extraction during a Medical and Dental Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) held on Uman, an island in Chuuk State, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Kolanda is embarked aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19). Mercy will operate in FSM to perform humanitarian civic assistance missions in an effort to build the relationship between FSM and the United States. Mercy is the primary platform for Pacific Partnership, a four-month humanitarian mission to Southeast Asia intended to build collaborative relationships by providing engineering, civic, medical and dental assistance to the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Valcarcel/Released)
August 26, 2008
A Surgeon from the Indian Navy helps USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) during Pacific Partnership 2008.
September 3, 2008   |   0 Views
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