Surgeon General

SG’s Message – Thanksgiving in June? You Bet!

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Esteemed Shipmates:

As we begin our journey back to a level of normalcy, I want to say thank you.  Those who have deployed to support our fellow Americans, both on the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy, and those integrated with civilian hospitals across this country. Thank you to everyone who kept our MTFs running and our training commands training.  I recently visited the Hospital Corps School in San Antonio, TX and the Medical Education and Training Campus has trained throughout the pandemic, ensuring our ranks are replenished with highly qualified Hospital Corpsmen.

On June 17th, the Hospital Corps celebrates its 123rd year.  To FORCM Roberts and our 26,000+ HMs, thank you for your dedication and selfless service.  Throughout this pandemic, our Hospital Corpsmen have been shining examples of resilience, and exemplars  of the high reliability behaviors we cherish.  The future of our Corps is in great hands and continues to model our proud history and traditions that we honor each year.

Thank you to those who continue to support the Fleet and Fleet Marine Force.  As of today, we have had only two ships, out of hundreds, that have adjusted operations for a period of time, and Marine Corps operations have continued without interruption throughout the pandemic.  Thank you to those who deployed in support of the DSCA mission, providing vaccination support at FEMA Community Vaccination Centers across the country.  Our Department of the Navy teams have given 1.4 million vaccinations, with DOD collectively administering nearly 5 million doses.  I had the opportunity to visit several vaccination sites and a few RRRTs in action and witnessed first-hand, the extreme appreciation from our civilian counterparts and communities.  Our Sailors continue to recognize the value of their services and the rewarding honor to support this global mission.

And finally, thank you to those who have received a vaccination to help end this pandemic.  You are not only protecting yourself, but also your family, your unit, your community and the Navy.  It’s been a long year and a half, but we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel (and it’s not a train).  If you have not received your COVID-19 vaccination, please reconsider your decision and discuss with your local physician to identify the best option for your health and safety.   Our people are our top priority and most valuable resource. Let’s do everything possible to protect each other. 

Take care, be strong and continue to project medical power!

V/r,

SG

Bruce L. Gillingham, MD, CPE, FAOA

RADM, MC, USN

Surgeon General, U.S. Navy

Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

SG Book List and Talks with Authors Compilation

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View all of Dr. Gillingham’s book talks at his new YouTube playlist. Interviews by the Surgeon General with authors on his professional reading list – https://www.youtube.com/playlist…

U.S. Navy Surgeon General, Rear Adm. Bruce Gillingham, announced the launching of his professional reading list in a video released in February 2020. “The reading list is comprised of books that have helped shape my perspective as I have developed as a doctor, naval officer, and leader over the course of three decades of service,” said Gillingham. The 37 titles are organized by Navy Medicine’s four priorities—People, Platforms, Performance and Power. Each book was selected to strengthen understanding of these priorities while fostering the skillsets and thinking needed in today’s Navy Medicine. The books cover a wide-spectrum of topics—from management and leadership to history and biography to philosophy and medicine. Although intended for all personnel serving across Navy Medicine, Gillingham explained that the reading list should be considered “a suggested guidepost for independent study” rather than a formal requirement or an “end all to learning.”

See his complete list of books at https://www.med.navy.mil/Pages/SG-Reading-List.aspx or https://archive.org/details/sg-professional-reading-list.

SG’s Conversations with Authors – “On Call in Hell: A Doctor’s Iraq War Story” by CDR(r) Richard Jadick – Tomorrow!

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On Tuesday, 8 June 2021 at 1200 Eastern the Surgeon General of the Navy will be speaking with CDR (ret.) Richard Jadick on Facebook Live as part of the “Conversations with the Authors” Series.   The topic of conversation will be  Dr. Jadick’s book On Call in Hell: A Doctor’s Iraq War Story.   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:

https://www.facebook.com/USNavyMedicine/

A flyer about this event is attached and hope you can all attend:

Memorial Day Messages from ASD(HA), DHA, and the SG

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Here are all the Memorial Day messages from our senior leadership:

Assistant SECDEF for Health Affairs

Teammates,

This Memorial Day weekend represents both sadness and hope. We recognize the service of our fallen heroes, those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation. This solemn remembrance comes on the heels of another type of war, the fight against COVID-19, which has taken the lives of service members and millions of others. Thankfully, we have made incredible progress against COVID-19, and much of the nation is beginning to return to normal.

That return to all the activities and events we have put on hold for so long comes with great risk if we don’t continue to exercise good judgement and keep safety top-of-mind.  For that reason, I ask that you be mindful of your actions and take appropriate safety measures to protect yourselves and your loved ones from injury, illness and COVID-19. If you have teammates who may be alone or feeling isolated, please reach out to them, and make sure they’re taking care of themselves.

I know the last fifteen months have been trying and difficult for all of us. It’s why the vaccination campaign has been so important. It will save more lives and protect us, our friends, and family against hospitalization and death. It has enabled us to get back to normal. So, please consider getting vaccinated if you haven’t yet. They are widely available, they are safe, and as a doctor, I have the utmost confidence in each of the vaccines.

Thank you again for all your hard work, for helping the Military Health System fulfill its mission, for protecting our Department and our nation against COVID-19, and for ensuring we all have a bit less to mourn and remember.

I hope you all have a safe, restful and reflective Memorial Day.

Thank you,

Terry

Terry Adirim, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.

Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense – Health Affairs Department of Defense

Surgeon General

Esteemed Shipmates,

This weekend, our nation pauses to remember all military personnel who have died while serving our Armed Forces.  Their sacrifice is a true testament of selflessness.  Before embarking on this long holiday weekend, let us reflect on why Monday is a federal holiday and a day off for many of us.  The Old Farmer’s Almanac captures how and why we as a nation celebrate Memorial Day:

“The custom of honoring ancestors by cleaning cemeteries and decorating graves is an ancient and worldwide tradition, but the specific origin of Memorial Day-or Decoration Day, as it was first known-is unclear.  In early rural America, this duty was performed usually in late summer and was an occasion for family reunions and picnics.  After the Civil War, America’s need for a secular, patriotic ceremony to honor its military dead became prominent, as monuments to fallen soldiers were erected and dedicated, and ceremonies centering on the decoration of soldiers’ graves were held in towns and cities throughout the nation.  After World War I, the day expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars.”

As we pause and give thanks to those who have gone before us, and gave their life to support the cause of freedom that we enjoy today, I am excited to share that Navy Medicine reached a significant milestone this past Tuesday when NMRTC Camp Lejeune administered the one-millionth vaccine across our Navy and Marine Corps sites.  This milestone demonstrates the hard work, resilience, and dedication of our One Navy Medicine Team.  Since the start of vaccination operations, more than 60% of Naval personnel have received at least one dose and more than 50% tare fully immunized.  Thank you for rolling up your sleeve and contributing to our defense against this virus.

COVID continues to be a force readiness issue and there is no better protection for our people, their families, or communities than getting vaccinated.  For those that have not vaccinated, I ask that you pause and reflect on the dedication of those who have come before us and then reconsider your reservations. Rededicating yourself to the health and protection of yourself and those you serve with is one great way to honor their sacrifice. In the words of President John F. Kennedy, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Thank you for all you continue to do to take care of our Sailors, Marines, and their families.  I am humbled and honored to work with you, the incredible Navy Medicine professionals who ensure our warfighters are ready, healthy, and mission-ready.

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

Defense Health Agency

Video:

https://www.dvidshub.net/video/796366/dha-memorial-day-message

Message:

Teammates:

The freedoms we enjoy in this country were not given but earned – generation after generation – through the courage of many Americans who took great risks, who fought for a cause in which they believed, who put service above self. As a nation, we ask our men and women in uniform to be prepared to make these sacrifices every day.  Sometimes, that sacrifice is borne by a family in mourning, creating an irreplaceable void in lives, and acknowledged by a carefully folded flag handed down with reverence. This coming Monday is Memorial Day, a time set aside to honor and remember those military members who gave what Abraham Lincoln described as “their last full measure of devotion.”

To the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones, thank you.  Many of us will all be setting aside time this weekend, thinking of you, and praying for you. To our medical professionals who have been there to witness service members take their last breath, thank you for being there and giving your all.

This Memorial Day weekend is accompanied by signs of hope and recovery from the pandemic that has changed our lives. As we get vaccinated, we’re looking forward to family gatherings, sporting events, vacations, and other freedoms some of us previously took for granted. We have a range of emotions, including a little worry and perhaps a lot of excitement! 

It’s important that we don’t forget the fundamentals as we venture outside. Stay hydrated, use sunblock, remember common-sense safety tips in the water activities, and be mindful of the potential dangers of alcohol. If you’re jumping in the car, make sure it’s service is up to date, and pay extra attention to the other drivers who might not be paying attention to you. This is the time of year when motorcycles are out in force and most fatal motorcycle accidents happen because motorists don’t see them. The DHA is kicking off our summer safety campaign and there are many resources to help you have a safe and happy summer. To see some of the summer safety resources, visit https://www.health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Total-Force-Fitness/Environmental-Fitness/Summer-Safety .

And while we can see a future where the pandemic is officially declared over, we aren’t there yet. The best protection is vaccination. But, depending on your location and vaccination status, modified masking and physical distancing guidance still apply. Let’s stay on track to defeat COVID.

I wish all of you a safe and peaceful Memorial Day.

rjp

Ronald J. Place, MD

LTG, US Army

Director, Defense Health Agency

BUMED Videos of Interest

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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

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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

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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