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Naval Hospital Jacksonville staff return from Continuing Promise 2017

Story by Yan Kennon

Naval Hospital Jacksonville

Staff from Naval Hospital (NH) Jacksonville’s hospital and branch health clinics returned on April 2 from the humanitarian mission Continuing Promise 2017 (CP-17).

Fifty-eight NH Jacksonville personnel were assigned to the mission’s medical team, which provided medical and dental care to citizens in Guatemala, Honduras and Colombia. NH Jacksonville’s deployed staff included physicians, dentists, nurses, hospital corpsmen, a physical therapist, a nutritionist, administrators, and others.

Lt. Cmdr. Robert Lennon, a family medicine physician from NH Jacksonville, oversaw roughly 80 medical personnel as CP-17 medical site officer in charge.

“Our staff take pride in the high-quality care we provided during the mission,” said Lennon. “This deployment experience helps clinicians maintain and build our expeditionary clinical skills, which better prepares us to provide medical and surgical care in combat theaters.”

Capt. William Todd, NH Jacksonville executive officer and pediatric orthopedic surgeon, was part of the advance planning team for CP-17. He has served with six Navy humanitarian missions: Continuing Promise 2017, 2015, 2013, and 2011; Operation Unified Response in 2010; and Pacific Partnership 2008.

“Continuing Promise is medical diplomacy at its finest,” said Todd. “Our planning team works with the partner nations to identify their needs and build on existing resources in the region.”

Each mission stop included knowledge exchanges and training events with local hospitals and health care personnel, to build local capacity.

The first stop was a 12-day visit to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala; followed by 10 days in Trujillo, Honduras; and the final stop was 10 days in Mayapo, Colombia.

CP-17 included 169 Navy, Marine Corps, Army, and Air Force service members, who provided medical, dental, optical, and veterinary services. The mission accomplished 23,601 patient encounters (which was 157 percent of the mission’s original goal and included dental, adult medicine, pediatric, optometry, gynecology, dermatology, and physical therapy visits), 200 knowledge exchanges and training events, over 800 animal treatments, and 24 community relations projects. U.S. Fleet Forces Band also gave 51 performances at local venues.

CP-17 is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet-conducted deployment to conduct civil-military operations (including humanitarian assistance and humanitarian civic assistance; training engagements; medical, dental, and veterinary support; and disaster response to partner nations) and to show U.S. support and commitment to Central and South America.

NH Jacksonville’s priority since its founding in 1941 is to heal the nation’s heroes and their families. The command is comprised of the Navy’s third largest hospital and five branch health clinics across Florida and Georgia. Of its patient population (163,000 active and retired sailors, soldiers, Marines, airmen, guardsmen, and their families), about 85,000 are enrolled with a primary care manager and Medical Home Port team at one of its facilities. To find out more or download the command’s mobile app, visit www.med.navy.mil/sites/navalhospitaljax.

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