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NEWS | July 7, 2014

Chinese Hospital Ship Hosts RIMPAC Medical Exchange Conference

By Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Pyoung K. Yi

 The Chinese hospital ship Peace Ark hosted a medical exchange conference as part of the 2014 Rim of the Pacific exercise here July 3.

Chinese and U.S. naval medical officers gave presentations during the multinational conference, which opened with a video presentation about Peace Ark.

“We wanted the attendees to learn about our experiences on humanitarian assistance relief missions,” said Lt. Cmdr. Xin Du, a medical officer who serves aboard Peace Ark. “But more importantly, I wanted to learn from others’ experience helping out on humanitarian relief efforts. I like the idea of exchanging ideas with other countries. It promotes friendship and subsequent joint missions.”

Military medical personnel from Canada, Indonesia, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea and the United States attended the conference, which encouraged the exchange of medical knowledge and discussion of ways to help humanity using military resources.

“I was impressed with the sheer capacity of Peace Ark's resources in treating people in a disaster,” said Master Cpl. Katarina Vasic, a dental technician with the Canadian army.

A telemedicine presentation by Navy Cmdr. (Dr.) Gilbert Seda, a pulmonary medicine specialist aboard Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy, caught the attention of many Peace Ark personnel. Telemedicine is the electronic exchange of medical information between sites.

“Most of us are very interested in telemedicine,” said Du. “Our cardiologist, nephrologist, and other officers were very interested in his presentation.”

This year’s RIMPAC marks the first time in the exercise’s history that hospital ships have participated. Peace Ark and Mercy will continue to hold medical exchanges while in Pearl Harbor and during simulated disaster-relief operations at sea.

Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in the RIMPAC exercise, which began June 26 and runs to Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.

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