NEWS | Sept. 19, 2018

USAF Surgeon General in China: ‘We Have Empowered Our Youngest Airmen to Solve Problems’

By Maj Phil Ventura U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Public Affairs

Xi’an, China – The U.S. Air Force Surgeon General addressed a multinational audience of medical professionals here Sept. 18, 2018 as part of the Asia Pacific Military Health Exchange 18.

Lieutenant General Dorothy Hogg’s presentation, ‘Leveraging Change Management to Steer the Air Force Medical Service Towards Zero Harm,’ was part of an overall discussion on performance optimization.

“Trusted care is a single-minded focus of continually improving the delivery of safe, quality health care with zero harm,” Lt. Gen. Hogg said. “It is a culture that is always learning and improving through
continuous process improvement to identify errors before they reach our patients.”

In her remarks, the general acknowledged that while delivering quality health care has always been the goal of the U.S. Air Force Medical Service, research has found that the same errors often re-occur; an
issue that’s not exclusive to military medicine.

“If human errors were a disease, it would be the third leading cause of death in America,” the general said.

The week-long APMHE, attended by more than 600 participants from 30 countries and international organizations, offers a range of workshop sessions designed to foster candid discussion in pursuit of the exchange’s theme, “Challenges & Solutions: Strengthening Global Health.”

Having identified the challenge for the U.S. Air Force, the general went on to describe a solution: “All of our Airmen have a duty to speak up for safety – this is integrity,” Lt. Gen. Hogg said, linking the
Service’s approach to care with its core values.

“All of our Airmen are committed to putting safety first – service before self. And all Airmen must remain steadfast in striving to zero harm – excellence in all we
do.”

Beyond her prepared remarks, the general fielded a range of questions from fellow exchange attendees.

Pressed by one to elaborate on the U.S. Air Force medical community’s transformation she replied, “Every Airman, every day, a problem-solver…We have empowered our youngest Airmen to identify
gaps, seams, problems, issues and bring them up.”

Now in its fourth year, APMHE 2018 is being co-hosted by U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Surgeon’s Office and the People’s Republic of China, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Directorate of Medical
Services. The event was founded by the United States and previous co-hosts include: Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.