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The Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Conference Returns

Back by popular demand, the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) hosted the annual Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Conference in Norfolk, Va., March 20 -22. Over the course of three days, more than 400 conference attendees participated in presentations connecting to the theme “Naval Readiness through Public Health.”

“Prevention is key to force readiness and integral to keeping the force healthy today and for the threats of tomorrow,” said Vice Adm. Forrest Faison, Navy surgeon general and chief, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED), in his remarks during the opening ceremony of the conference.

The Navy and Marine Corps Public Health conference aimed to promote three overarching goals: multidisciplinary collaboration and communication on military-specific public health issues, officer and enlisted community mentoring and professional development, and formal training to develop skill sets and achieve required competencies.

“From monitoring and responding to outbreaks of disease to environmental exposure reviews, a very busy Influenza season this year, and the myriad of other challenges, Navy Public Health has once again been asked and has answered the call,” said Capt. Todd Wagner, commanding officer, NMCPHC.

Active duty and civilian specialists in various Navy public health disciplines engaged in poster sessions, presentations and discussions on topics within the fields of preventive medicine, population health and environmental health.

“I have been able to meet new people, acquire new opportunities, see old friends, and learn the latest in Navy Medicine and public health, all of which I can take back to the fleet,” said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Sean MacKay, preventive medicine technician (PMT), Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit Two (NEPMU-2).

In addition to the Navy Surgeon General and commanding officer of NMCPHC, keynote speakers at the conference included Capt. Darin Via, command surgeon, U.S. Central Command, and Dr. Donald Shell, director of disease prevention, management and population health policy and oversight, Defense Health Agency (DHA),

“Best practices will determine what will be effective in ensuring our service members can perform at their best…You have to make sure their most important equipment, their mind and body, is finely tuned,” said Shell.

Conference attendees participated in various sessions that facilitated a knowledge-sharing environment for military public health best practices.

“It’s invaluable for us to get together to cross-talk communities, discuss lessons learned, network and bring fleet issues back to the group to improve outcomes for preventive medicine technicians in the fleet,” said Senior Chief Randall Oakes, Navy PMT enlisted technical leader, Navy Entomology Center of Excellence (NECE).

As for next year, NMCPHC is on track for continuing the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Conference in 2019.

“It’s great to be back at the Public Health Conference! The conference has been good, informational and a great way to renew old acquaintances and begin new friendships. I look forward to next year’s conference – better, bigger and greater than before,” said Jim Sherrard, head of health promotion and wellness, Naval Hospital Pensacola.

NMCPHC’s mission is to provide leadership and expertise to ensure mission readiness through disease prevention and health promotion in support of the National Military Strategy.

To stay in touch with NMCPHC for updates and information, visit http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcphc/Pages/Home.aspx

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