11 nations share lessons learned at medical symposium
Representatives of the military medical community from 11 Partnership for Peace and NATO countries met to discuss common problems and solutions within the career field here April 18 - 20.

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Representatives of the military medical community from 11 Partnership for Peace and NATO countries met to discuss common problems and solutions within the career field here April 18 - 20.

The three-day International Health Symposium addressed the topics of medical logistics, enlisted force development and senior leader challenges.

The countries in attendance for the symposium, which was organized by U.S. Air Forces in Europe Surgeon General Medical Readiness, included: Armenia, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Croatia, Georgia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine.

"When we looked at the countries we support, one of the common gaps that we found was the medical logistics capability to support their deployed and in garrison units," said Col. Chuck Tedder, USAFE chief of medical readiness, "So, we decided we'd focus on medical logistics."

A medical logistics representative was invited from each of the nations and during the event the group discussed basic logistics challenges and common solutions, and toured several medical logistics facilities in the region.

"Another common need that we have noticed over the last couple of years is NCO development," Tedder said. "One of NATO's focus areas is on building an NCO corps."

During the convention senior officer and enlisted leaders discussed NCO roles and responsibilities and saw firsthand the professional development in action on a visit to the Kisling NCO Academy.

Chief Master Sgt. Jason Pace, USAFE chief of medical enlisted force, said, they showed how the U.S. Air Force cradle-to-grave develops the enlisted force, showcased PME and talked about medical specific training that medics receive.

The chief also mentioned why it is important that partner nations have similar roles for the NCO corps.

"If we are going to partner with these nations - it may be on a humanitarian disaster or it may be on a war - we need to have a common frame of reference so we understand each other's capabilities and we have a similar capability set," he said.

Col. Jay Neubauer, USAFE surgeon general, expressed his goals for the meeting were to network among the nations, bond over common experiences and share solutions to common problems.

Post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury were among the top issues discussed by the senior leaders. The deployment transition center, the 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility were also highlighted during the visit.

Though this is the first symposium of this kind, the organizers are hoping it will be a recurring event.

"What we were looking for is to increase our tool kit and add a conference which might be a more effective and efficient way of meeting with more countries and saharing more information and building more relationships," Tedder said.

"Medical has an important role in building partnerships because medics in general speak the same language and we do good ... we are trying to heal people and we all have that common goal," he added.

Building effective partnerships with these nations is a long-term goal, however meetings like this are a step in the right direction.

"This function is very much a part of EUCOM's concept through their theater of security cooperation plan to bring capability to these countries," Neubauer said. "This is an initial step to really developing a trusted relationship amongst these countries."

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