An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Oct. 10, 2023

Collaboration at Indo-Pacific military health exchange enhances interoperability

By Col. Elizabeth Erickson and Chloe Arevalo, U.S. Air Force International Health Specialists

More than 500 health professionals from 24 nations, including the U.S., converged at the Indo-Pacific Military Health Exchange, September 26 to September 29, to share experiences and increase interoperability among military health teams.

The Indo-Pacific Military Health Exchange, or IPMHE, is a multilateral military event focused on partnership and interoperability and co-hosted by the armed forces of a country in the Indo-Pacific region together with the United States Indo-Pacific Command, or USINDOPACOM, Command Surgeon. The co-host for this IPMHE was the Malaysian Armed Forces Health Services.

Participants, from non-commissioned officers to senior leaders, came together for a four-day exchange, including symposium and poster presentations, hands-on clinical training workshops, bilateral meetings, and a visit to the Malaysian field hospital, focusing on this year’s theme, ‘Achieving Health Solutions Through Diversity and Inclusivity’.

Several senior leaders from around the world attended the exchange, including Lt. Gen. Robert I. Miller, Surgeon General, Department of the U.S. Air Force; and Chief Master Sergeant Dawn M. Kolczynski, Chief, Medical Enlisted Force.

“The IPMHE highlighted successful military health partnerships in the region and was a call to action to accelerate our efforts to enhance interoperability as we face future contingencies,” said Lt. Gen. Miller. “Our collective readiness is critical for sustaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”

During the exchange, U.S. Air Force personnel shared presentations on clinical and operational medicine, global health security, and partnerships that enhance readiness of U.S. and partner nations.

“We can improve care by establishing communication and agreements before they are necessary,” said Capt. Audrey “Frankie” Belmonte, Critical Care Air Transport Nurse from the Washington Air National Guard, during her presentation entitled ‘Early Inclusion and Collaboration Among Partners to Enhance Enroute Patient Care’.

Airmen also participated in hands-on clinical training workshops to strengthen interoperability with partner nation counterparts. The workshops focused on tactical combat casualty care, surgery and critical care management.

“Our Airmen, representing the total force and including enlisted and officer health professionals, demonstrated the strength and readiness we achieve in the Air Force Medical Service by embracing diversity and inclusivity,” said Chief Master Sgt. Kolczynski.

One component of the IPMHE was bilateral meetings between senior leaders from the U.S. and partner nations, allowing for discussion of priorities for cooperation, such as aerospace medicine and patient movement.

“The IPMHE creates an opportunity for relationship building for our senior leaders around the world. The bilateral meetings enable the U.S. to meet with partner nations one-on-one to talk about opportunities to collaborate further,” said Lt. Col. Richard Caballero, USINDOPACOM co-chair for the IPMHE.

The exchange also included an observation of the Malaysian Armed Forces field hospital. Over many years of cooperation, Malaysia has routinely exercised their field hospital along with the U.S. and other regional partners. In recent years, Malaysia has deployed the field hospital to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in Bangladesh and Türkiye.

Concurrent with the IPMHE, the Washington National Guard and Malaysian Armed Forces Health Service conducted a mass casualty exercise utilizing the field hospital. Washington and Malaysia have been partnered since 2017 as part of the National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program.

“The state partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region are on display here at IPMHE,” said Col. Charla Geist, Global Health Engagement Liaison to the National Guard Bureau Joint Surgeon’s Office. “The enduring relationships, such as Oregon with both Vietnam and Bangladesh, and Washington with both Malaysia and Thailand, have enhanced readiness of all partners.”

Lt. Col. Chris Webb from the Oregon Air National Guard presented on an ongoing initiative to support Vietnam’s development of a chapter of the International Trauma Life Support program, which provides training on pre-hospital care to Vietnamese military personnel prior to deployment on United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.

The relationships bolstered during IPMHE are invaluable. The exchange opens cooperation opportunities for partners who may not have worked together before. Relationship building is one of the most important impacts of this exchange.

“It is easier to reach out to our partners in contingencies when we already have established relationships,” said Caballero.

The IPMHE is one component of a broad portfolio of global health engagement between the U.S. and Ally and partner nation counterparts in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Our partnerships are deep and enduring,” said Col. Susan Moran, Pacific Air Forces Command Surgeon. “IPMHE fostered continuous improvement in military medicine as we shared knowledge, lessons learned and best practices. With the diversity of attendees, this conference allowed us to think strategically and tackle complex issues. IPMHE, along with our regular exercises, make us stronger together.”


Like Us
Follow Us



Pacific Partnership Returns to Tonga for the First Time in Ten Years
NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga (Nov. 13, 2023) – Pacific Partnership 2023 leadership, Pacific Partnership 2023 staff and Kingdom of Tonga government representatives pose for a group photo after opening ceremony held at International Dateline Hotel in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, Nov. 13. Now in its 18th year, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Deirdre Marsac)
Nov. 14, 2023 - Pacific Partnership has arrived in Tonga to conduct the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific, Nov. 13...

Pacific Partnership 24-1 concludes first mission stop in the Republic of the Marshall Islands
U.S. Navy Rear Adm. David Buzzatti, director of the Reserve Medical Service Corps., is piped aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) during the Pacific Partnership 2024-1 closing ceremony for the Republic of the Marshall Islands mission stop Nov. 10, 2023. Pacific Partnership, now in its 19th iteration, is the largest multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific and works to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increase security stability in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Justin Ontiveros)
Nov. 14, 2023 - Multinational service members participating in Pacific Partnership 2024-1 (PP24-1) departed the Republic of the Marshall Islands aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) Nov. 14 following a 14-day mission stop in the...

Two U.S. Navy carriers join Japan destroyer on Multi-Large Deck Event in Philippine Sea
PHILIPPINE SEA (Nov. 7, 2023) Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), steam in formation with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) first-in-class helicopter destroyer, JS Hyuga (DDH 181), Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers, USS Antietam (CG 54) and USS Robert Smalls (CG 62), and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, USS Sterett (DDG 104) and USS Kidd (DDG 100), during the Multi-Large Deck Exercise (MLDE) in the Philippine Sea, Nov. 7. Ronald Reagan is participating in the bilateral MLDE, which features the ships and aircraft of JMSDF Escort Flotilla 3, as well as the U.S. Navy’s Carrier Strike Group 1 and Carrier Strike Group 5. MLDE is a multi-domain event that grows the already strong partnership and interoperability that exists between the JMSDF and U.S. Navy today. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Timothy Dimal)
Nov. 9, 2023 - The Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group, Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) conclude a Multi-Large Deck Event (MLDE) in the Philippine Sea, Nov. 4-8, 2023...

US Air Force completes first commercial air-to-air refueling of fighter aircraft
A commercial KDC‐10 tanker aircraft refuels a U.S. Air Force F‐16 Fighting Falcon from the 51st Fighter Wing, enroute Commando Sling 23 at Paya Lebar Air Base, Singapore, Nov. 6, 2023. The aircraft can carry 247,000 pounds of fuel for refueling plus up to 100,000 pounds of freight or passenger payload. This groundbreaking event is the first ever contracted aerial refueling of Air Force fighter aircraft which took place to support the F-16s in Commando Sling 23, highlighting innovative initiatives for problem resolution. (Courtesy Photo)
Nov. 9, 2023 - The U.S. Air Force is shifting the way it builds and maintains readiness for flight operations by way of commercial enterprise...

Combined Forces Command underlines ironclad commitment during ceremony
Lt. Gen. Willard M. Burleson III, chief of staff, Combined Forces Command (CFC), presents awards to member of the Republic of Korea military during a ceremony honoring the 45th Anniversary of the formation of the CFC, on U.S. Army Garrison-Humphreys Nov. 7, 2023. (U.S. Army photo by: Cpl. Jorge Reyes, Eighth Army Public Affairs)
Nov. 8, 2023 - The Republic of Korea and the United States celebrated the 45th anniversary of the Combined Forces Command (CFC) foundation during a ceremony on U.S. Army Garrison-Humphreys, Nov. 7, 2023, standing shoulder-to-shoulder and...