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(Image courtesy of U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

(Image courtesy of U.S. Navy)

SAN DIEGO (NNS) — Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, the Navy’s surgeon general and chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, visited the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) to meet with the scientists whose research helps improve warfighter health, readiness and performance Aug. 30.

During the visit and tour, Faison discussed the need for robust research and development to deliver new capabilities in support of preventive health for service members and their families, high levels of survivability and countering emerging health threats from infectious diseases. 

Faison also said it’s vital to anticipate warfighters’ medical needs in an increasingly complex and uncertain world. He also commented on the importance of estimating potential casualties to ensure life-saving capabilities are available when and where they are needed, particularly aboard ships. 

“We are coming out of this most recent conflict with the highest combat survival rate in recorded history and there is an expectation we will have that in the next conflict,” said Faison. “We have to look at what we need to provide our Navy and Marine Corps team to have high combat survival in what may be a very different environment.”

That is where the research enterprise comes in, said Faison. The capability to estimate casualties and then use that information to equip ships with the right medical personnel, equipment and supplies is vital to providing life-saving care at the point of injury and stabilizing patients until medical evacuation is possible. 

According to Michael Galarneau, director of operational readiness at NHRC, “We have the best capabilities for predicting the number and the type of casualties that will occur across a range of military operations, ashore and afloat.”

Researchers at NHRC have developed a math programming solution that can accurately estimate the optimal supplies and equipment necessary to treat specific patient conditions based on the estimated number of casualties and the size of the treatment facility, said Galarneau.

The math programming solution can calculate estimations for non-traditional medical treatment facilities (MTFs) ranging from a hospital corpsman’s medical bag to adaptable modular systems that can be set up aboard any ship and contain everything needed to provide trauma and intensive care capabilities to treat and stabilize casualties until they can be evacuated to more definitive care. 

“The math programming techniques, developed by Mr. Vern Wing in our medical modeling department, analyze multiple variables to determine the optimal number and type of supplies required to care for patients closer to the point of injury, potentially extending that golden hour,” said Galarneau.

The variables analyzed by the math programming solution include the estimated number and type of casualties based on the operational scenario, the supplies needed to treat each of the probable patient conditions, the volume and weight of those supplies, the maximum volume and weight constraints of the MTF and the amount of time until resupply is possible. Each of these inputs determine that optimal number and type of supplies that will be needed.

“It was an honor to host Vice Adm. Faison and have him share his goals and vision with our researchers,” said Capt. Rita Simmons, NHRC commanding officer. “Being able to hear directly from the surgeon general about the future direction of Navy Medicine for the research and development enterprise, and engage with him by asking questions, really helps our scientists understand the requirements of military medicine and the fleet so e can better align our research to meet those needs and maintain operational relevance.”

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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