U.S. Navy Engagement in Global Health
October 28, 2009
On Tuesday October 13th, CSIS hosted an event on U.S. Navy engagement in global health. Captain James Terbush updated a distinguished audience on the 2010 iteration of Operation Continuing Promise, the Fourth Fleet’s program for health outreach to the Americas. Commander Brad Hartgerink shared an inside look at the work of the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) on training and treatment policies. Dr. Gene Bonventre, co-chair of the CSIS Health and Security Working Group, moderated the discussion.
Terbush, Command Surgeon for the Fourth Fleet, introduced the audience to the USS Wasp, the 844 foot 27000 ton amphibious vessel that serves as Operation Continuing Promise’s highly capable floating medical platform. Operation Continuing Promise’s provision of health services in eight American countries will not only serve a great humanitarian purpose, said Terbush, but also provide essential training in anticipation of future disaster relief missions. Terbush made clear that this opportunity for training would extend to the host nation. “The focus will still be accomplishing surgical procedures and vaccinations,” he said, “but also an emphasis on teaching and training to build host nation capability.”
Hartgerink, BUMED’s Special Assistant for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response, spoke about a BUMED working group on medical logistics, general principles of care, education and training, and evaluation. After thanking Rear Admiral Thomas Cullison, who attended the event, for his leadership in commissioning the working group, Hartgerink emphasized the importance and difficulty of developing accurate metrics to evaluate health outcomes.
A question and answer period followed and covered the Navy’s cooperation with NGOs, current and future health missions to Africa, pharmacy expenses for Operation Continuing Promise 2009, and a host of other topics.