HomeNewsArticle Display

Emerging infectious disease training event bolsters medical readiness

Publio Gonzalez, a biologist with the Gorgas Institute, holds a bat in Meteti, Panama, June 6, 2018. Gonzalez and U.S. military doctors were participating in an Emerging Infectious Diseases Training Event, in which they received informational lectures from Panamanian infectious disease experts and field studies of possible virus-carrying wildlife and insects. The event took place during Exercise New Horizons 2018, which is a joint training exercise where U.S. military members conduct training in civil engineer, medical, and support services while benefiting the local community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin Mullen)

Publio Gonzalez, a biologist with the Gorgas Institute, holds a bat in Meteti, Panama, June 6, 2018. Gonzalez and U.S. military doctors were participating in an Emerging Infectious Diseases Training Event, in which they received informational lectures from Panamanian infectious disease experts and field studies of possible virus-carrying wildlife and insects. The event took place during Exercise New Horizons 2018, which is a joint training exercise where U.S. military members conduct training in civil engineer, medical, and support services while benefiting the local community. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dustin Mullen)

PANAMA CITY, Panama (AFNS) --

A team of U.S. military doctors, public health specialists and members of various other career fields participated in a week-long Emerging Infectious Diseases Training Event June 4-8, 2018, in Panama during the New Horizons 2018 humanitarian training exercise. The event, aimed at enhancing attendee cultural competencies and professional knowledge, consisted of briefings, lectures and a day of field study.

In collaboration with the Gorgas Institute, University of Panama and the Panamanian Ministry of Health, the team studied various diseases, the vectors that carry them and the ways Panama is combating the diseases.

“Infectious diseases are a huge issue for Southern Command when [thinking] about force health protection in this region,” said Lt. Col. Brian Neese, 346th Expeditionary Medical Operations Squadron commander. “We wanted to look at infectious diseases from the many different disciplines that come into it. Clinical medicine, preventative medicine, public health, laboratory specialties, expeditionary capabilities with aerospace medicine and collaboration with Global Health Specialists from the Navy; we brought all that together in this event.”

Throughout the week, the U.S. military doctors participated in lectures from Panamanian infectious disease experts and field studies of possible virus-carrying wildlife and insects.

New Horizons exercises have taken place in many countries throughout Central and South America, and training opportunities such as the Emerging Infectious Diseases Training Event allow military doctors to expand their cross cultural and global health knowledge.

“I have been really struck by the strategic importance of Panama in the United States’ biosecurity,” said Lt. Col. Heather Yun, 346th EMDOS infectious disease physician. “There are a lot of biological threats here in Central America, or that try to come here from South America through human migration.”

According to Yun, due to the geographic location of Panama, the importance the country places on controlling diseases greatly benefits the U.S., as well as other Central American countries.

“Panamanian efforts to halt infectious disease transmission functions as a barrier for transmission of viruses such as yellow fever,” Yun said, noting Panama’s disease control methods. “If we didn’t have that kind of surveillance here, then the U.S. would be at increased risk of encroachment from a lot of vector-borne diseases.”

The Gorgas Institute leads the disease research efforts. Founded in 1929, this world-renowned organization’s mission is to promote public health and contribute to research and teaching for the benefit of the population.

“The first thing that strikes me about Panamanians is that they are extremely organized, particularly the Gorgas Institute, which is a jewel,” said Lt. Col Mark Breidenbaugh, 346th EMDOS entomologist. “They have quality people and are funded at a level where they can do the work they need to do. They are doing cutting-edge molecular biology so they can recognize genetic material in their samples and therefore recognize exactly what kind of virus they are working with.”

Working with Panamanian doctors could potentially better equip U.S. doctors to recognize and react to various tropical diseases.

“Anytime you go overseas to a different culture, different language and a different way of doing things, it only increases readiness,” Yun said. “Because of the assets they have here, there is a lot of direct translatability between what we do in the U.S. We are always looking for ways to collaborate on research projects.”

Beyond just tropical diseases, creating bonds between the different specialties and organizations can aid in future research.

“I am thankful to come down here and do this because I believe in the global health interactions we are doing,” Breidenbaugh said. “In one sense, we are all diplomats. We are representing our country on an individual basis. I have already had requests from Panamanians to put them in touch with certain researchers I know.”

Engage

Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: "I’m eager to continue the momentum Secretary Barrett and these two great military leaders put into motion as we work to…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: "I look forward to working side-by-side with General Brown and General Raymond to ensure our #Airmen and #Guardians have…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Statement by Acting SecAF John Roth: "It is a privilege to serve #Airmen & #Guardians as the Acting Secretary of the Air…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: #Airmen & #Guardians: Serving by your side as the 25th SecAF has been the highest privilege of my career. Your vigilance…
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: CBRNE defense course keeps Airmen prepared (Story by the @910AW) #ReserveReady #ReserveResilient https://t.co/U94z9LjpYA
Twitter
RT @WILLROP3R: Last month @usairforce put #AI in charge of a U-2 radar. This month we're training for electronic warfare. In algorithmic wa…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Thank you #Airmen & #Guardians! Whether teaming on the ground with our allies & partners, roaring through the skies, or…
Twitter
Pentagon staff bid farewell to @SecAFOfficial Barbara Barrett as she exits the Pentagon for the last time as SECAF.… https://t.co/UcEDbNt7qN
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Although tomorrow marks my final day as Secretary of the Air Force, my admiration and respect for #Airmen & #Guardians w…
Twitter
Iron sharpens iron. @RamsteinAirBase's CMSgt Jeremy Unterseher graduated from the Command Senior Enlisted Leaders… https://t.co/CZ17oIe3rn
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: Incredibly proud of the readiness and professional focus of the men and women supporting the upcoming inauguration. https…
Twitter
Screamin' Eagle The F-15E Strike Eagle is a dual-role fighter designed to perform air-to-air and air-to-ground mis… https://t.co/0gkqBohUj6
Twitter
Supporting international partnerships and deterring adversaries. #AimHigh https://t.co/ktC0QF19sa
Twitter
A1C Olivia Vargas performs maintenance on a B-1B Lancer at Andersen Air Force Base in support of a Bomber Task Forc… https://t.co/FQo2egYXuN
Twitter
Equality for all. Today we reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy and what he stood for. King dreamed of a… https://t.co/SrZbBhwSt4
Twitter
Go Falcons! The @AF_Falcons played against the Boise State University Broncos during a home game at Clune Arena, i… https://t.co/TYFkhh367H
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,315,326
Follow Us