HANOI, Vietnam -- A team of 13 Navy Medicine trauma members completed a medical exchange Aug. 10 at Vietnam Military Hospital 103.
The 8-week program, called Integrated Trauma and Medical Readiness Exchange (ITMRE), is the first of its kind with Vietnam. U.S. Navy Medicine personnel worked side-by-side with Vietnam Military partners to provided medical care and share comprehensive trauma management techniques. This program is designed to enhance Navy medicine personnel’s ability to rapidly adapt to any environment, build resiliency, and learn the art of working with foreign partners.
“As we prepare our sailors and marines to go into harm’s way, true operational readiness requires partnership the world over,” said Capt. Carlos Williams, director of the Navy Office of Global Health Engagement. “The key to readiness is preparation, and preparation requires that team members are ready to face not only the challenges we know, but be resilient and agile to face the ones we do not.”
The Navy Medicine team comprised an Emergency Room Physician, Critical Care Physician, Orthopedic Surgeon, Anesthesiologist, Critical Care Nurse, Emergency Room Nurse, and Surgical Technicians.
Navy Medicine participated in this exchange as guests of the Vietnam Ministry of Defense in a longstanding and growing partnership to exchange ideas and increase cooperation between the two nations.
“This project represents a tremendous opportunity to utilize medicine as a benefit to both nations,” said Capt. Joel Roos, mission commander for the engagement. “It allows us to increase medical capabilities for both countries at different levels.”
Over the 8-week period, the U.S. team participated in over 300 surgical cases and assisted in the care of over 550 complex emergency room and intensive care patients. Approximately 30 hours of medical lectures were provided to the Vietnamese medical team.
Sharing trauma management skills was the focus of this exchange, which encompasses all aspects of trauma care to include pre-hospital care, emergency care, complex surgical repair (orthopedic, neuro, etc.), and post-operative care (critical care, nursing care, burn injuries).
The initiative originated in 2016, when the Vietnam Ministry of Defense requested support refining the trauma patient management system at its medical facilities. Navy Medicine identified an opportunity to conduct a global health engagement mission with a key partner in Southeast Asia. The initiative formed after close collaboration among Navy Medicine personnel stationed in Vietnam, the U.S. Embassy and leadership across the Navy Medicine enterprise.
“Global Health Engagement is about developing persistent and sustained relationships that foster trust, build capacity and bring about positive sustainable change,” Williams said. “To support these objectives, Navy Medicine hopes to expand the pilot to other nations, and to continue sending teams to Vietnam for future cooperative engagements.”
Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 personnel that provide health care support to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, their families and veterans in high operational tempo environments, at expeditionary medical facilities, medical treatment facilities, hospitals, clinics, hospital ships and research units around the world.