Photo Feature | Honoring Those Who Serve; Have Served
Armed Forces Day on May 18 and Memorial Day on May 27 are opportunities to salute all the members of the cardiovascular care team who serve and/or have served in the armed forces. The contributions of these individuals, many of whom are literally on the front lines of care, are vast. The ACC thanks all women and men who serve.
This month, Cardiology Editor-in-Chief John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, provides a web-exclusive collection highlighting his recent experience participating in a public outreach program for health care professionals to learn about military readiness and the work of our armed forces in military medicine.
Through the program, called the Mini Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (MJCOC 90), Harold visited the Pentagon and military medical installations across the Washington, DC, area, including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and its Health Sciences Simulation Center.
As additional resources, we've also collected relevant articles from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, including a Leadership Page by Harold and John Rumsfeld, MD, PhD, FACC, honoring those who serve, and two FIT Perspectives that detail the value of the VA Health Care System as a training environment and their fellowship experience.
I was privileged to participate in the Secretary of Defense's Mini Joint Civilian Orientation Conference (MJCOC 90), from April 14-17, 2019, with 28 other medical and health care professionals from across the nation.
Established by Secretary of Defense James V. Forrestal in 1948, MJCOC is the oldest and most prestigious public liaison program in the Department of Defense. MJCOC is the only outreach program sponsored by the secretary of defense that enables leaders from outside the armed forces to have a full immersive experience with their military.
The objective of the MJCOC public liaison program is to:
- Educate and inform participants about the strength and readiness of the U.S. Armed Forces through personal observation of Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard operations.
- Provide a better understanding of the rewards and challenges of military service.
- Provide the American public opportunities to obtain a better understanding of national defense policies and programs through the eyes of MJCOC participants who have spent time with their military.
As an MJCOC participant, I visited the Pentagon and military medical installations across the Washington, DC, area. I was privileged to engage with senior military officials and U.S. service members.
I gained a better understanding of the roles and mission of the U.S. Armed Forces, including their skills, capabilities and equipment employed in defense of our nation. I thank and honor all who serve and have served in our Armed Services, including those serving in the Veteran's Administration (VA) system.
It's important that we keep in mind that the U.S. health care system as a whole – including all cardiovascular clinicians and the ACC as an organization – shares the responsibility, and honor, of providing high-quality care for our veterans and those providing active military service. MJCOC90 increased my connection to the U.S. military through increased knowledge of the military's missions, capabilities and those serving.
Throughout MJCOC 90, I met with military health care leaders from across the armed services. The first day was highlighted by an executive breakfast with the Surgeon's General of the Military Departments at the Pentagon, where I dined with Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono, who is the Director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA).
The DHA enables the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps medical services to provide a medically ready force to combatant commands in times of both peace and war. The DHA administers the TRICARE Health Plan, providing worldwide medical, dental and pharmacy programs to more than 9.4 million uniformed service members, retirees and their families.
Next up was a briefing from Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Dave Norquist, who introduced the operations of the Department of Defense. We were given a tour of the Pentagon – the world's largest office building, with about 6.5 million square feet of space.
The five-sided Pentagon has five floors above ground, two basement levels and five ring corridors per floor with over 17 miles of corridors.
A moving moment was viewing the memorial to the 9/11 attack at the Pentagon, which killed 125 victims within the building along with those who were aboard American Airlines flight 77.
Joint Base Andrews in Maryland was next on our tour. We visited the 11th Wing Group, which provides security for the world's highest visibility flight line and is one of the largest wings in the Air Force.
We met the 11th Wing Aerospace Medical Squadron and observed demonstrations of techniques used to assess flight readiness in pilots, including spatial orientation and hypoxia exposure.
We had an extensive briefing on aeromedical evacuation from the battlefield to transfers at Joint Base Andrews. This was followed by an MV-22 Osprey orientation flight over Maryland. We had the privilege of seeing Air Force One arrive at Joint Base Andrews.
The second day was an immersion in military medicine with a visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and a visit to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and its Health Sciences Simulation Center, all in Bethesda, MD.
Also on tap was the Forest Glen Army Annex and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research Institute, both in Silver Spring, MD. We were introduced to the:
- The National Intrepid Center of Excellence (Traumatic Brain Injury Center)
- The 3D Medical Applications Center
- The Brain Fitness Center
- John P. Murtha Cancer Center
- Tour of Insectary/Controlled Human Malaria Studies
- Tour of Navy Infectious Disease Laboratory
- Veterinary and Pathology Lab Tour
- Training/Simulation of live battle in Afghanistan
The Department of Defense launched #KnowYourMil in February 2018 to connect Americans to their military. Through this effort, the DOD is:
- Informing and educating the American public about the military.
- Creating conversations and adding context to expand public understanding of the military.
- Providing Americans with a behind-the-scenes view of those who serve and their families.
"The ACC has long recognized the important role military physicians and the VA play in cardiovascular care and in recent years has moved to further strengthen the role of its military members in college-wide activities," says ACC CEO Timothy Attebery, DSc, MBA, FACHE.
The College has a number of military physicians who have previously served or are currently serving within its leadership, including on its Board of Governors and other national ACC committees. Also, multiple Fellows of the College are working in the VA system.
The ACC Federal Cardiology Member Section and Leadership Council is the home for cardiac professionals working in the VA, Department of Defense or Public Health Service within the ACC, advocating for and advancing the priorities of interest to the community.
This article was authored by John Gordon Harold, MD, MACC, past president of ACC and editor-in-chief of Cardiology.
Keywords: ACC Publications, Cardiology Magazine, Military Medicine, Military Personnel, Veterans, Fellowships and Scholarships, Leadership, Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Services, Organizations, Academies and Institutes
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