Surgeon General

BUMED Videos of Interest

Posted on Updated on

You can see some videos shared during the SG’s Leadership Conference yesterday at this link. The videos discuss the SG’s Four Ps, various personnel and roles (including multiple MC Officers), COVID-19, and innovations in Navy Medicine:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/296252232120229

In addition, you can see the SG’s interview about COVID vaccination on the TODAY show here:

https://www.today.com/video/what-s-behind-vaccine-hesitancy-among-members-of-us-military-111688261581

SG’s Message – Spring Cleaning

Posted on Updated on

Esteemed Shipmates,

As I pause from composing this message and look out my window here at BUMED headquarters I’m pleased to see that spring has finally arrived. Spring fever means something much different this year than last. A year ago it meant the clinical manifestation of a virus we were only beginning to understand. Twelve months later spring fever reflects our impatience to enjoy the blessings of the natural world without the precaution of having to wear a mask or stay at least six feet away from our friends and families.  That we are emerging from this pandemic is a reflection of the hard work done by everyone on the One Navy Medicine team, several examples of which I have shared with you in prior messages. Our initial efforts to get testing to the field have been matched by a full court press to get vaccine in arms and you have responded. Whether it is supporting local immunization efforts at your MTF or on your installation or participating as a member of a Community Vaccination Team in support of FEMA and the states, you have answered the call. Bottom line, while we are still fully engaged in defeating this viral adversary, we can pause, do some mental “spring cleaning” to reset our expectations and look forward to the promise of the future once again.

One way that the One Navy Medicine team can accelerate this return to normalcy for ourselves and our communities is to maximally leverage the most important weapon we have in this fight: COVID-19 vaccines. In my discussions with those who remain reluctant to take the vaccine the two keys concerns are the perception that the vaccines were developed too quickly and that they would lead to serious side effects. In fact, the rapid fielding of the vaccines represents a triumph of medical technology and genomics years in the making and they have proven themselves extremely safe. There is no better protection for an individual, a family or the community than the immunity produced by the COVID-19 vaccination.

As we have learned over the past year, there is tremendous power in listening. By suspending judgement and putting our biases aside we deepen our understanding and acceptance of difference. This is essential to the development of mutual respect and trust.  The issue of whether to receive the COVID-19 vaccination is an opportunity to exercise this skill. If you remain hesitant to receive it, listening to the evidence about the vaccine and comparing that against your preconceptions will hopefully address your concerns. For those who are advising those who have not received it, stepping back and listening to their concerns will deepen your understanding of how individual difference, perspective and background inform personal medical decisions, an essential skill not only for clinicians but all of us as we seek first to understand and to celebrate our individual strengths.

So, as you prepare to enjoy the annual renewal that spring has to offer, step back for a moment and reflect on how far we have come in a year. Your dedication, persistence and resilience will continue to pay an increasing dividend as we redouble our efforts to achieve maximum immunity for ourselves, our families and ultimately our communities.

With my continued respect and admiration,  

SG

Bruce L. Gillingham, MD, CPE, FAOA
RADM, MC, USN
Surgeon General, U.S. Navy
Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

SG’s Message – Projecting Medical Power at Community Vaccination Centers

Posted on

Shipmates,

Our One Navy Medicine Team continues to adapt and meet the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic.  Most recently, I was impressed with the role of our intrepid personnel in the effort to sink COVID.

Beginning in mid-February, Navy medical personnel deployed across the United States and U.S. Territories to support community vaccination centers (CVC’s) in support of the presidential-directed COVID-19 vaccination mission.  The size of these teams have varied based on the need of each community that they serve.  Type 1 teams can comprise up to 222 personnel, Type 2 teams can include up 139 personnel and a Type 4 team includes 25 individuals.

The CVC’s are overseen by U.S. Army North, U.S, Northern Command’s Joint Force Land Component Command, and operate in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Health and Human Services. As of April 7, 2021, Navy medical personnel are serving at CVC’s in Florida, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Massachusetts, Missouri, and the Virgin Islands.

Last week I visited a Navy medical-led Type 2 Team based at the CVC at York College in Jamaica, Queens, NY.  The team – under the command of Navy nurse CAPT Eva Domotorffy – consists of 139 Sailors from 8 different Navy Medicine commands and Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit Two (MDSU2).  MDSU2 was deployed with the Navy Medicine team to provide essential administrative and logistical support.  Sailors at the site have been providing to shots to members of the local community since February 24th and administered their 100,000th vaccine the day of our visit. The site is currently able to vaccinate about 3,000 people per day with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.  Collectively our teams have helped deliver more than 500,000 vaccines to eligible civilians!

Though the teams are doing important work for the City of New York, they are also finding it very rewarding, one MDSU Master Chief canceled his terminal leave before retiring just so he could participate in this historic evolution and told me that this is the most rewarding work he has ever done. The team has established best practices and are sharing those with FEMA, DOD and the State to help project Navy Medicine’s Power even further. 

As we continue to work with local communities to ramp up COVID immunity, I’d ask those who have not yet taken the vaccine to step back and recognize how safe we are finding it to be. The number of serious reactions is exceedingly low and it becomes increasingly clear that the benefit of receiving it is extremely high. While we salute the great work being done by our colleagues working the CVCs we can each make our own contribution to community immunity by stepping forward and rolling up our sleeves. Your shipmates, neighbors and I thank you in advance!

To learn more about CVC effort I encourage you all to click on the link below to a video from my visit to New York.

YouTube link for non-government computers: https://youtu.be/84Qj6N76PB4

MilSuite link for government computers: https://www.milsuite.mil/video/42379

The story of our fight against COVID-19 is still being written, but I am very proud of

our people for continuing to project Medical Power.

With my deepest gratitude, SG

Bruce L. Gillingham, MD, CPE, AOA

RADM, MC, USN

Surgeon General, U.S. Navy

Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

SG Message: We Are At War – Are You Protecting Your Community?

Posted on Updated on

Esteemed Shipmates:

This message is for our entire Navy Medicine team, especially those who have concerns about receiving COVID-19 vaccinations.  As your Surgeon General, my first concern is your safety.  I would never allow you to go into a combat zone without flak and Kevlar. By the same token, I am concerned that Navy Medicine personnel are electing to serve on the front lines of the war against COVID every day without the single best protection we have: the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. The vaccine is our “biological body armor,”  a safe, highly effective defense against a virus which can cause serious long term disability, even in those minimally symptomatic and, in over 500,000 cases so far, death. Tragically, we have lost seven active duty sailors, (four in the last month) and 53 Department of the Navy civilians thus far. Fortunately, our scientific panel, world class experts in their fields, assure me that the benefits of the vaccine far, far, outweigh possible side effects.

I recognize that receiving a COVID vaccine is voluntary.  Absent a presidential waiver, I cannot make a COVID vaccine either mandatory or a readiness requirement.  The choice is yours, and I ask that you make the best choice for your own health and, importantly, for those around you. Frankly, many have asked “what’s in it for me” noting that even if they get the vaccine they will not see an immediate relaxation of our current public health restrictions. As the adage “a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” reminds us, all of us have a small but very important role to play by getting vaccinated. It is estimated that 75% or more of us need to be vaccinated if we are to achieve the community immunity that will allow that return to normalcy. We are each a part of several communities: those of our families, friends, co-workers and the neighborhoods in which we live. Communities depend upon shared, coordinated actions to thrive and reach their “common” vision of happiness. This sometimes requires compromise and sacrifice. The COVID pandemic is one of those times. Please consider the impact of not getting vaccinated on your community. Ignore biased social media, examine the science and reach out to a trusted medical provider to address your reservations. We are truly in this together.

You are an ambassador of Navy Medicine and are on the front lines serving our patients every day.  Sailors, Marines, Civilians and Contractors look to you as the source of medical knowledge and expertise. YOU are the doc they know. Each of us must become an exemplar if we are to defeat this virus. As medical ambassadors, we need to communicate the science and facts about these vaccines to our friends, families, and fellow service members. As I noted above, it is a biological body armor against a virus responsible for killing more than half a million Americans. I encourage our entire enterprise to be engaged in COVID conversations both within and outside our lifelines. If you know someone who has questions about receiving the vaccine, speak to them, make sure they are making an informed choice with accurate information.  If they decide to get the vaccine, ask them to act and get it as soon as possible.  Please share your own experiences, and help educate them on the tremendous benefits these low-risk vaccines provide not only for them, but for their shipmates, their families, and the community at large.

That the vaccines are available now is a triumph of medical research that began more than a decade ago. They are our safest and best weapon against this unrelenting adversary. By simply rolling up your sleeve you can don this amazing biological body armor, make a personal contribution to community immunity and project medical power – what a great return on a small but critically important investment!

We need everyone in Navy Medicine to join their vaccinated arms as we lead from the front in protecting all of the communities in which we live and serve.

With my continued respect and admiration, SG

V/R,

Bruce L. Gillingham, MD, CPE, AOA

RADM, MC, USN

Surgeon General, U.S. Navy

Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

SG Video – Support to Navajo Nation

Posted on Updated on

Esteemed Colleagues, 

Last week, Force Roberts and I had the honor of traveling to the Navajo Nation to see our Navy Medicine Rapid Rural Response Teams embedded and integrated with local medical facilities in three locations across Arizona and New Mexico.  Our shipmates are doing a superb job supporting the DSCA mission as part of the whole-of-America response to the COVID pandemic.  The Navajo caregiving teams they have joined praise their expertise, their can do spirit and their compassion. During my visit, I also saw first-hand the damage this virus is doing to people’s lives and families.  This disease is deadly.  When Sailors or Marines go into battle, they are armed.  In this war against this vicious and unrelenting adversary in which we are on the front lines, getting vaccinated is our armor and our best offensive weapon.  I recognize that getting the vaccine is an individual decision. If you have not gotten it, please reach out to your trusted medical professional and discuss your concerns so that you are making a fully informed decision. The life you save by becoming vaccinated may not only be your own, but that of your shipmates and those of your family members. 

Please click on one of the links below to watch the video message, and as always, THANK YOU for all you do to project medical power be it for Naval superiority or on behalf of our fellow Americans.

Video Message:

— To watch the video on a Government Computer, click here: https://www.milsuite.mil/video/40266

— To watch the video on another electronic device (such as a cell phone or non-YouTube blocked computer), click here: https://youtu.be/037mm14ruSc

With my deep gratitude,

SG

Bruce L. Gillingham, MD, CPE, FAOA
RADM, MC, USN
Surgeon General, U.S. Navy
Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

SG Message – Toward a More Perfect Union

Posted on Updated on

Esteemed Colleagues:

On the day before he died, in the speech given in support of striking sanitation workers in Tennessee, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr retold the good Samaritan story. He said that those who refused to stop for the wounded man on the road asked, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” – but the good Samaritan instead asked, “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

Service is the action of helping or doing work for someone. There is no greater honor and no greater reward than service. And today, there is no greater need.

As your Surgeon General, I am honored to serve alongside our selfless Sailors and civilians who are dedicated to be part of something greater than oneself. We serve to protect and defend America and the country’s national interest.

Whenever a Sailor or Marine goes, Navy Medicine is there, ready and engaged. We are there rendering medical aid in austere locations, caring for our shipmates and their families at military hospitals, developing vaccines to protect our forces against disease, and providing humanitarian assistance around the world. Service is the very bloodline of our One Navy Medicine family.

Today, four of our Rapid Rural Response Teams (RRRTs) – comprised of 24 nurses and respiratory technicians – are providing essential medical care to COVID-19 patients from the Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico. Our scientists are conducting pioneering research on viral transmission, and at military treatment facilities and alongside Navy piers, we are providing vaccines against a deadly disease to protect the Force and our fellow Americans. These are just a few examples of the thousands of good actions Navy Medicine demonstrates every day.

Dr. King devoted his life to serving others and advancing equality, social justice, and opportunity for all. He challenged Americans to participate in the never-ending work of building a more perfect union. We are living through difficult times – with a global pandemic, social turmoil, economic hardships, and political strife all straining our country. Recognizing that our Nation has yet to reach its full promise is not an admission of defeat, but a call to action. As our Joint Chiefs reminded us this week, American citizens trust us to protect and defend our nation in accordance with the Constitution and I thank you for embracing this responsibility.

I challenge each of us to continue to foster an environment of dignity and respect for everyone. In our Navy, we have individuals from many different cultures, ethnicities, and histories. We must recognize this advantage and include the broadest possible spectrum of people and perspectives. Generating success as a team means going beyond merely understanding the unique perspectives of different people and cultures – understanding is too passive. Achieving top performance is enhanced when we tap into the energy and capability of an actively inclusive team.

As we mark Dr. King’s 92nd birthday this holiday weekend, let us each remember that we have much more to gain from peaceful dialogue, orderly discourse, and civility towards each other. Navy Medicine remains committed to the principles of mutual respect and understanding that Dr. King espoused. Now, perhaps more than ever, they are the cornerstones of the Navy’s Culture of Excellence and an important contribution to our nation’s ongoing effort to create a more perfect union.

With my deepest gratitude, SG

Bruce L. Gillingham, MD, CPE, AOA

RADM, MC, USN

Surgeon General, U.S. Navy

Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

SG Conversation with ADM (ret.) Stavridis, 1100 on 15 January 2021

Posted on Updated on

Good morning all,

I hope this message finds you well today.  And I hope you can assist in spreading word about an event the SG will be having tomorrow that is open to all BUMED personnel.

Tomorrow at 1100 the Surgeon General will be speaking with ADM (ret.) James Stavridis on Facebook Live as part of the “Conversations with the Authors” Series.   The topic of conversation will be  Stavridis’s books “Sailing True North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character” and “Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans” and their application to Navy Medicine.   As a Facebook Live event this will be open to the Enterprise and we encourage all BUMED personnel to watch on the BUMED Facebook site.

A flyer about the event is here:

A link to the previous installment of the series (Dr. Muhammad Zaman, author of “Biography of Resistance: The Epic Battle Between People and Pathogens” can be accessed through the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI2EYhtatJU).

Thank you.

Very Respectfully,

André

André B. Sobocinski

Historian/Publications Mgr.

Communications Directorate (M09B7)

Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED)