October Message from the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

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MHS Team:

As the Defense Health Agency formally assumes responsibility for management
of MTFs across the United States, I commend your continued commitment and
hard work across all levels of the MHS to ensure our warfighters maintain
the military medical combat support capabilities we provide, our patients
see no disruption of quality or access to the healthcare delivery services
they depend on, and our collective efforts to deliver on an implementation
plan to make this transition a success. You are part of an historic
transformation in military medicine – thank you for your service to the
nation during this pivotal period of change. While we have accomplished much
to date, much work remains, and I know you will continue to deliver at the
same high level as this work continues.

In addition to business reform, the MHS continues to build critical
partnerships to advance readiness and operational support. Recently, I
joined Acting Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless and his staff at the Food and
Drug Administration for the FDA-DoD semi-annual meeting to discuss our
continued, close partnership to ensure delivery of critical battlefield
medicine to our service members downrange. Over the past two years of
enhanced collaboration between the DoD and FDA, we’ve achieved a number of
successes to advance warfighter readiness and improve overall battlefield
trauma response. We’ve established Emergency Use Authorization for
freeze-dried plasma in initial hemorrhage control efforts as part of
battlefield trauma care, approved drugs for battlefield pain control and
infectious disease threats, and increased the Department’s access to
platelets for injured warfighters in theater. These successes are already
yielding dividends in building a better prepared, better protected, and
better cared for force, equipping the U.S. warfighter with the best possible
military medical support. A special thanks to Dr. Terry Rauch and the DoD
team for your hard work on this critical partnership – including LTC
Colacicco-Mayhugh, RADM (Ret) Carmen Maher, Ms. Kathy Berst, Mr. Nathan
Pawlicki, COL Jennifer Kishimori, Mr. Jeremiah Kelly, Ms. Emily
Badraslioglu, and Ms. Jennifer Dabisch.

Our partnership efforts within the MHS continue to develop as well. I had
the opportunity to join the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE),
the 10 Intrepid Spirit Centers (ISC), and the Center for the Intrepid (CFI)
to discuss progress and areas of focus as the MHS continues to develop the
best care and treatment for the more than 172,000 patient encounters – seen
this year alone – related to traumatic brain injury and associated health
conditions. With new improvements for treatment and care, including NICoE’s
TBI Portal – which, in collaboration with the Defense Health Agency and the
ISCs, consolidates TBI patient data to better inform clinical decision
making and treatment – the MHS is building a collaborative network of TBI
research, education, and care to enhance warfighter readiness. Special
thanks to NICoE Director CAPT Walter Greenhalgh, NCR Director Brig. Gen.
Anita Fligge, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund Honorary Chairman Mr. Arnold
Fisher, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Director COL Andrew
Barr, and our talented colleagues across the University and the Defense and
Veterans Brain Injury Center for advancing the MHS’s partnership and best
practices that are putting military medicine at the global forefront to
prevent and respond to TBI.

On a final note, we bid farewell to Vice Adm. Forrest Faison as the 38th
surgeon general of the Navy, as he retires after 39 years of service to the
Nation. On behalf of the entire MHS, thank you for your passionate
commitment to the military medical enterprise and to the soldiers, sailors,
airmen, Marines, Coast Guard members and the families who the MHS supports
and cares for.

Tom

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