SYDNEY, Australia – A U.S. health delegation headed by Rear Adm. Pamela Miller, Command Surgeon for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and Maj. Gen. Michael Place, Commanding General of 18th Medical Command, visited Australia from April 25 to May 4, 2022, to enhance Australian-U.S. health interoperability.
The visit was sponsored by Joint Health Command, Surgeon General Australian Defence Force and Commander Joint Health Rear Adm. Sarah Sharkey, with the aim of promoting strategic engagement and understanding between U.S. and Australian health services. This included fostering discussions of regional challenges pertaining to healthcare, and enhancing shared understanding of the operating environment and geopolitical influences encompassing Northern Australia.
“The U.S. health delegation’s visit was an important engagement opportunity in highlighting the strong Australia-U.S. relationship and AUSMIN [Australia-United States Ministerial consultations] strategic objectives,” Sharkey said.
The U.S. delegation conducted a number of regional visits to Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Sydney, to understand factors in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) health and operating system, and identify opportunities for building and fostering relationships and health engagements.
Key highlights of the visit were command engagements with ADF health units and Joint Health Command Headquarters, as well as the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation between Australia and the U.S.
The memorandum will lead toward the establishment of the Indo-Pacific Health Security Alliance (IPHSA).
The aim of the IPHSA is to create a sustainable framework for continuous engagement and consolidate existing efforts to strengthen multi-sectoral, whole-of-society, outbreak preparedness, and response capabilities.
In doing so, the IPHSA will provide a forum for stakeholders across the Indo-Pacific to facilitate civil-military cooperation in health, build trust, and identify gaps.
This is consistent with Australia’s and the United States’ goal of advancing peace, security, and prosperity to ensure an open, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific.
“We valued the opportunity to provide an overview of our capabilities in respective locations and discuss strategic U.S. and Australian engagement and specialist perspectives on future opportunities,” Sharkey said. “We look forward to our continued partnership with the U.S. and enhancing our relationships and mutual understanding.”