Surgeon General

BUMED Human Capital Management Strategy Plan 2020-2025

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The SG recently signed the subject plan:

Each Corps will be working on a Corps-specific talent management action plan, so there will be more to follow.

SG’s Veteran’s Day Message

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Esteemed Colleagues: 

When I took office as the 39th Surgeon General of the Navy just over a year ago, I saw a great opportunity to increase our focus on the readiness of our Fleet and Marine Force, and ensure we were better aligned to support the National Defense Strategy and direction from the CNO and Commandant of the Marine Corps.  Out of this analysis came my four priorities (“4Ps”) which emphasized the role of our well-trained People operating on optimized Platforms with high velocity and high reliability Performance to project the medical Power that our country needs to maintain Naval Superiority. These 4Ps became our new framework for achieving our mission – a cohesive calling to take our One Navy Medicine team into the future.

We couldn’t have foreseen in the proceeding 365+ days since we established these priorities that our world would be dealing with a global pandemic but your superb response to this challenge has accelerated our transformation to become a stronger, and more medically-ready team focused on quality care for our Sailors, Marines and their families.

Our experiences serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic stateside, OCONUS and at sea has enabled us to be better equipped to mitigate the spread of this pernicious threat and help keep our warfighters safe.   It has also made us more efficient and effective in how we deploy our platforms.  Hope is on the horizon and in the coming weeks we will see Navy Medicine have a key role in supporting vaccine clinical trials and assist with the nationwide distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine once it is FDA approved.

During the summer, we embarked on enduring conversations to help strengthen our commitment to core concepts of inclusion and diversity.  These open and honest talks held at all levels of our command shined new light on important issues of racial and gender equality.  As we journey together to foster a culture of excellence, Navy Medicine remains committed to creating an environment of mutual respect where hard work and determination are the key enablers to allow anyone, no matter what their background, to be successful in our military. We must continue to have these important discussions to better understand and support each other, harnessing our unique strengths to accomplish our critically important mission.

Through the many challenges we’ve faced during my first year as your SG, nothing has been more important than to prepare ourselves for the emerging great power competition.  As the Navy and Marine Corps implement the concept of distributed maritime operations, how we provide critical medical support to the warfighter must also adapt.  Navy Medicine must be prepared to ensure we have a ready medical force and the operational medical capabilities to save lives. As we move forward as an organization I ask each of you to reflect on how your efforts produce Navy Medicine’s medical power in support of Naval Superiority.

I am confident that our team of expeditionary medical professionals and the invaluable experts who support them, will be ready for the challenges of the future. We stand on the shoulders of giants confident that we will meet these challenges with the same tenacity, innovation and selfless service that they demonstrated. Like them we will be at our best on the worst days for our Sailors and Marines. Tomorrow we honor the legacy of service by these men and women who have served in the armed forces of the United States, through peace and in conflict, in uncertain times and at war.  These are our families, friends, neighbors, and heroes who have answered our Nation’s call.  We thank all who donned the uniform, defended our homeland, and demonstrated the essence of service that provides the liberty we enjoy today.  On this special day, join us in thanking our veterans and their families.  Their sacrifices have defined this Nation.

Finally, to our all of the Marines out there – and all Navy Medicine personnel who are privileged to serve these brave warriors – I wish you a Happy 245th Birthday and a hearty “OORAH!”

SG Sends 

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

One Navy Medicine – SG’s Message from Tidewater

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Esteemed Colleagues,

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting our One Navy Medicine Team in the Tidewater area and it is very rewarding and encouraging to see the Fleet side, NMRTC/NMC Portsmouth and Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center all working together as One Navy Medicine to ensure the readiness of our warfighters. Take a look at the attached short video for a look at an example of our new Platforms headed to the fleet in the next few years!

MilSuite Link (Gov Computers)– https://www.milsuite.mil/video/36662

YouTube Link  – https://youtu.be/5kKt2_aY_9A

Transcript here (If you don’t have the bandwidth for video):

SG Sends

V/r,

Bruce L. Gillingham, MD, CPE, AOA

RADM, MC, USN

Surgeon General, U.S. Navy

Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

SG’s Message – Full Speed Ahead-After a Short Break…

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Esteemed Shipmates,

Labor Day typically marks the unofficial end of summer and a return to school for many; and this year, we are reminded that 2020 is anything but typical. What IS typical is your outstanding support of our war fighters and their families. So, before we secure for the holiday weekend I want to thank you for YOUR labors and the contributions you make to defend our freedoms. I’d especially like to recognize our shipmates who are “standing the watch” this weekend on behalf of Navy Medicine. Thank you for your selfless dedication and team spirit.

Since the early part of February, Navy Medicine has been operating at flank speed. We have and will continue to answer the call by responding to those we serve; our patients, our families, our warfighters, and in federal emergencies to our fellow citizens. No one can stay at flank speed indefinitely, so if possible this weekend, please throttle back, spend some quality time with friends and family (in a socially distanced way of course!) and recharge your batteries. Refreshed, we will be able to redouble our efforts against this implacable adversary.

In recent messages, I have highlighted the tremendous efforts we have made to rapidly deploy our medical capabilities, both at home and abroad, in support of the COVID-19 response. I have watched in admiration as the Navy Medicine team has demonstrated its power in incredibly agile and novel ways. The nation now knows what we have always known, and that is that we are always ready to answer the call and to provide a fully capable medical force no matter how challenging or unique the contingency.

Throughout the pandemic we have learned much about our strengths and have also identified areas where we can improve. We continue to gather these lessons learned and are committed to ensure they are lessons applied and don’t just get filed away. The COVID response has demonstrated the importance and value of rapid cycle feedback from “the deck plate” so I encourage you to share your insights, of both your successes and your challenges, with your leadership so we can use them to build a stronger and even more effective Navy Medicine.

Finally I wanted to reaffirm how appreciative I am of what you all are doing. Please know that it is not just me that is incredibly appreciative; it is the Secretary of the Navy, the CNO, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Vice Admiral Sawyer; who runs Operations for the Navy, has repeatedly stated how much he appreciates the support that we are providing by rising to the occasion, answering the mail, providing guidance for health protection; and when necessary, getting people out the door quickly…fully demonstrating the power of Navy Medicine!

It’s a privilege to be your Surgeon General and be in a position to support each of you, advocate for you, and to bask in your impressive successes. Wishing you all the best for a safe and restful holiday weekend. Come back from this well-deserved time off rested, recharged and ready to proceed full speed ahead!

With my continued respect and admiration, SG

Bruce L. Gillingham, MD, CPE, AOA

RADM, MC, USN

Surgeon General, U.S. Navy

Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

SG’s COVID Update – August 2020

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Here’s a link to the You Tube video:

SG’s Message – People are Our Strength

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Esteemed navy Medicine Colleagues,

This week I wanted to try something different.  Attached below are two links to a video all hands message.  My goal is for you to receive communication from me and other Navy Medicine senior leaders about every two weeks. Toward that end, the next message will come from the DSG…..

Admin Note: Two links appear below with the same video, the first is for a YouTube Link, if you cannot get to YouTube from your work computer, the second link is to MilTube which is only accessible with a CAC card, but should be accessible on DOD computers.  Same video at both links below.

YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/u1oy1eCUHCU

MilTube Link (CAC Required): https://www.milsuite.mil/video/33753

Thank you for all that you do every day-you are truly making a difference.

GO Navy-beat COVID!

 

SG Sends

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

SG’s Message – “Navy Medicine…Report to the Bridge!”

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Esteemed Colleagues,

“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm. “ – Publilius Syrus.

For those of us who’ve had the privilege of getting underway in our great Navy can attest, the bridge attracts a lot of visitors when it is quiet at sea. It’s a much different scene however when situation get critical, as that is when the skilled, battle tested and steady hands are called to take over. But how did that “go to” team develop the proficiencies necessary to succeed in times of crisis? The answer can be found at the core of our Navy and Marine Corps team and the heart of what we do every day in Navy Medicine. It is the rare combination of being Brilliant on the Basics of our profession and at the same time, seeking those unique opportunities in our career to step out of our comfort zones, drawing confidence from our training, our mentors, our leaders and most importantly, ourselves to get the job done. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is a learned skill, and no one has set a better example of this principle in action than you…The amazing men and women of Navy Medicine.

We all have “comfort zones”; that behavioral space where our activities and behaviors fit a regular pattern. Routines can be stable and comforting, but they can also turn stale and confining over time. Doing something new and different helps stave off burnout and is good for our brains and bodies. Anyone who’s ever pushed themselves to get to the next level or accomplish something knows that when you really challenge yourself, you can achieve amazing results.

The idea of a comfort zone goes back to a classic experiment in psychology. In 1908, psychologists Robert Yerkes and John Dodson explained that a state of relative comfort created a steady level of performance. However, in order to maximize performance, one needs to reach a state where stress levels were slightly higher than normal. This space is called productive discomfort or optimal anxiety, and it exists just outside our comfort zone.

There are many examples of Navy Medicine personnel embracing the opportunity of operate outside their comfort zone to meet the challenge of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. For many it is overcoming the difficulties of continuing their demanding work remotely, without the proximate support of their co-workers. For others it is not just a change of venue, but of function. For example, our dental community, restricted from performing most of their operative procedures in order to limit spread of the virus, have contributed to the fight in ways they could not have imagined while they were in dental school. Here are just two of many examples:

  • LT Chris Wilde, NMRTC Yokosuka. A General Dentist, Chris stepped-up to orchestrate COVID-19 reporting for 223 commands across U.S. Forces Japan. He planned and executed multiple SWABEX evolutions and helped to test more than 6,000 people which prevented the spread a coronavirus outbreak on the base.
  • LCDR Geoffrey Ward, NMRTC San Diego. A prosthodontist, Geoff served as the command’s lead for COVID-19 operations and fleet testing. He helped to develop instructions for conducting drive-thru coronavirus testing, setting up tents for symptomatic and pre-operative testing, and co-authored standard operating procedures to provide consistent care and protect our Sailors and Marines.

One Navy Medicine’s willingness to move beyond our comfort zones remains a critical key to our success. Our ability to apply rapid-cycle feedback and lessons learned directly improves the quality, safety, and relevance in the care we provide.

For example, our experience in deploying Expeditionary Medical Facility (EMF)-Mike has taught us the value of smaller, rapid deployable units of highly skilled medical providers. This week 72 individuals attached to NMRTC Pensacola’s EMF-Lima (L) were sent to Texas as part of the newly established component platforms, the Acute Care Team (ACT) and Rapid Rural Response Teams (RRRT). The ACT is a 44-person team designed to support urban hospitals and RRRT’s are 7-person teams tailored to support patient surges. These Navy Medicine professionals are working on the front lines with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local officials to serve as a relief valve for local hospital systems overburdened with COVID-19 cases. Rapidly and without hesitation they have selflessly stepped into the line of fire with local medical professionals to care for fellow Americans stricken by this relentless virus. In the coming weeks, we expect to provide additional aid to areas deeply impacted by the pandemic. Bravo Zulu to all who have and will answer this call. We are proud to call you our shipmates.

As our nation faces this generational crisis, it is OUR team that has been called to the bridge and I have never been more confident that the ship is in the best hands possible. Everyone who has stepped out of their comfort zone to respond to the pandemic understands the meaning of the quote: “a ship in a harbor is safe but that is not what ships are designed for”. Thank you for courageously sailing away from your personal safe harbor to strengthen our response to COVID-19.

You are making a positive difference in a world that has never needed you more.

SG

Bruce L. Gillingham, MD, CPE, FAOA

RADM, MC, USN

Surgeon General, U.S. Navy

Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

SG’s Message – Words That Define Us

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Esteemed colleagues:

At this time last year we were happily awaiting the Fourth of July holiday, relishing the opportunity for outdoor recreation, barbecues, and relaxing with our friends and family.  Little did we know, a year later, we would be facing the prospect of a fifth month of restrictions in our daily life including social distancing, the need to wear facial coverings, and the loss of our cherished freedom of movement.

We begin this summer very different as we continue to face an adversary that shows no signs of backing down.  Recent trends, in fact, demonstrate a concerning increase in cases affecting all of our Navy and Marine Corps team, to include Navy Medicine personnel.  How will we respond to this ongoing challenge?  For me, four words that describe Navy medicine’s foundational characteristics provide the answer:  resolve, persistence, toughness, and resilience.

Resolve:  to decide firmly on a course of action.  As the Navy’s medical force, our war fighters and their families look to us to provide the expertise to protect them.  They also look to us as role models for how to behave and act in this challenging environment.  We must demonstrate the resolve to practice what we preach and become the standard-bearers for how to overcome this adversary.

Persistence:  firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.  Time and again, Navy Medical personnel have demonstrated the ability to fight through adversity to complete their mission.  We are no strangers to sustained, superior performance.  Now more than ever, staying the course, even in the face of what may seem like overwhelming odds and insurmountable challenges, is critically important.

Toughness:  the ability to deal with hardship or to cope in difficult situations.  Toughness is a core Navy attribute.  We relish the opportunity to show others that we have what it takes, no matter the circumstance.  When the going gets tough, Navy Medicine gets going.  As our Navy motto attributes – Semper Fortis.

Resilience:  the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.  A key characteristic of high reliability organizations is that they take a hit and come back stronger.  SARS-CoV-2 has hit us hard, but much like the USS Constitution, we are built of sterner stuff.  As a learning organization, we know knowledge is power and each encounter with our adversary has made us stronger.  Every day the insights gained by our scientists, public health experts, and medical teams have made us more powerful.  We use this power for the benefit of those that we have the privilege of protecting.  We thrive on the opportunity to grow and adapt.

Resolve, persistence, toughness, and resilience…these words define our incredible team and the characteristics that will see us through this challenge.  As our Nation finds itself in the midst of this generational struggle, know that you are the living embodiment of these words, and it is you who gives Navy Medicine its power to prevail.  Thank you for all you do and please know what a privilege it is to serve alongside you.

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

Message from the SG – Brilliant on the Basics

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Esteemed Navy Medicine Shipmates,

Michael Jordan once said, “Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.” The fundamentals are the basics. They are not always the most exciting thing to learn or do, but they are usually the most important. People, teams, and organizations who achieve greatness, do so by mastering the fundamentals – and then sticking to them. You have probably heard me say – we all need to be brilliant on the basics.

There is currently no vaccine to prevent us from contracting this disease; however, when it comes to our collective battle against COVID-19, we need to continue to practice and encourage others to follow the fundamentals of force health protection to prevent illness and avoid exposure to this virus. Continue to cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others, wash your hands often and avoid touching your face, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, monitor your health for symptoms, and enforce restriction of moment.

As medical professionals, we must continue to educate and advise our Sailors, Marines, and family members to stay the course. To help turn fundamentals into habits requires repetitive action. I’m reminded of a basic teaching formula: you hear, you forget; you see, you remember; you do, you understand. And when you truly understand, that is when the basics become part of our DNA. Think muscle memory!

This week marked the 122nd anniversary of the Hospital Corps. As we continue to adapt and confront the challenges posed by this pandemic, the men and women of our Hospital Corps remain a powerful presence on all fronts in the fight against COVID-19. Whether serving as IDCs on surface ships, subs, or diving units; as preventive medicine and laboratory technicians, as general duty Corpsmen at MTFs, or the 8404s embedded with Marine units, our ability to project Medical Power continues to rest on the shoulders of these brave and dedicated Corpsmen.

The recent exploits of Corpsmen during the pandemic have only added luster to the distinguished history of the Corps:

  • The quick thinking of the USS KIDD’s IDC and his two fellow “docs” in medevac’ing a suspected case of COVID and implementing newly developed mitigation procedures helped reduce the impact of the disease aboard the warship.
  • Five HMs attached to the Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s Rapid Response Team helped ensure the success of an unprecedented mission, conducting testing of the USS KIDD’s crew while helping to provide vital medical support 24/7 in a COVID exposure environment.
  • Corpsmen serving with forward deployed preventive medicine teams have remained an early, active, and ever-present force in novel coronavirus surveillance efforts at sea.

And whether contact tracing, onsite testing, administering to patients, or helping to enforce DoD and CDC COVID-19 guidance, our Corpsmen remain at the vanguard of ensuring warfighter readiness across the Department of the Navy.

This month also offers a palpable reminder that Summer is in full-swing and many may be eager to travel or enjoy recreational activities since restrictions have loosened up across the country. Before executing any plans, please take a moment to review NAVADMIN 168/20 regarding our current leave, liberty, and TDY restrictions; as well as the Naval Safety Center, 101 Critical Days of Summer found here.

Please continue to use good judgement, follow existing guidelines, remain vigilant, and most importantly stay safe.

It is important that we all take time to step away from our jobs to decompress, and all of us are eagerly anticipating returning to a sense of normalcy. However, as we try to rediscover what has been lost, let us not forget everything that we have learned along the way. If I had one wish, it would be that you could see the organization from my perspective, as the brilliance you have all demonstrated on the basics have been the building blocks of all that Navy Medicine has accomplished. I am truly humbled to be part of this amazing team.

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 – Continuing to Deliver

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Esteemed Navy Medicine Colleagues,

It is hard to believe, but June marks six months since we first detected COVID-19 in the United States. During this time, our Navy and our Nation have changed in ways that would hardly seem recognizable at the end of 2019. One thing that has remained consistent is that Navy Medicine has stood on the front lines of this fight, bringing Medical Power to our Navy and Marine Corps team.

This is now the new normal and we must learn to sail, fight, and win in this environment. Throughout the early rounds of this battle, Navy Medicine’s kinetic responses were easily visible on every TV and made every headline. Whether it was the sight of two Hospital ships sailing into harm’s way to respond to our country’s needs, or the story of our Expeditionary Medical Facilities rapidly deploying to support our fellow citizens in need, Navy Medicine met the enemy head on. Now, we must shift from this initial response phase to one that builds the strength and resilience of our force so they can operate and succeed this new environment.

Using rapid cycle feedback and continuous learning, we are taking the lessons learned of this initial phase and leveraging them to shape our future strategy. A real life example of this is seen with our work with COVID Convalescent Plasma (CCP). Two weeks ago, the DOD announced the use of the FDA-approved CCP as an investigative treatment against COVID-19. CCP is collected from the blood of individuals whose immune systems have developed antibodies against COVID. Within hours of the newly established policy, we rapidly collected CCP from volunteers aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71); and over the course of three days, the blood bank/donor center at USNH Guam had collected more than 200 life-saving plasma units. This was the first of many donations as crew from the USS Kidd (DDG-100) also contributed plasma. Navy Medicine will continue to be at the forefront of this effort to gather CCP from Sailors and Marines who have recovered from this disease, and we will use it to treat those who become seriously ill.

Over the last six weeks, TR has also been the focus of a public health outbreak investigation conducted by Navy Marine Corps Public Health Center in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This investigation was conducted with volunteer crewmembers who were asked to complete a short survey and provide two specimens for laboratory testing (voluntary blood and nasal swab samples). This is the first CDC published report on this specific demographic of young adults and one of the key findings was that loss of taste or smell was the main symptom most associated with the COVID-19 infection. This joint investigation broadens our understanding of this disease and will inform future testing and mitigation strategies to ensure the readiness of our fleet and force. I recommend you take the opportunity to review the published findings at www.cdc.gov/mmwr.

As our knowledge about the coronavirus continues to expand, we remain steadfast in our commitment to protect the health of our force based on the best available scientific evidence. This is why we exist and it remains our solemn obligation to care for and support America’s Service members and their families. Despite the complexity of this adversary, because of your incredible dedication and unwavering support, we will continue to deliver …Medical Power in Support of Naval Superiority.

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