Report: Capt (N) Dr. Andreas Dierich, MC (DEU)
In the service of our troops: a military medical challenge
The NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine
Since its NATO accreditation in 2009, the NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine (MILMED COE) has reached a highly appreciated position within the NATO medical community. The Centre provides subject matter expertise on medical training and evaluation, lessons learned, standards and doctrine development and deployment health surveillance.
In accordance with its overall mission to support and assist the strategic commands in NATO’s transformational process and thereby contribute to an improved medical support MILMED COE has developed several activities in this field.
As the 2nd Deputy Director and Chief of Staff of MILMED COE since October 2012 my main task is to continue the work which has been done so far but also to develop MILMED COE within a changing NATO medical environment in the spirit of multinationality, Smart Defence, Pooling & Sharing and Connected Forces. The issue of interoperability might thus become a key factor in the NATO medical community for the future.
We do believe that interoperability, that is to say the ability of our forces to work effectively together, is the only realistic perspective for the Alliance’s future whilst our governments are still fighting the economic crisis. With the words of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, “multinational solutions will be vital for minimising our costs and our Alliance will be vital for maximising our capabilities” - he stated in his Annual Report 2012.
Since 2010 the MILMED COE Training Branch has organized 6 high quality courses (2 iterations a year per course) with 328 participants from 25 countries. MILMED COE considers its courses not only as a teaching opportunity but as a forum for an exchange of subject matter expertise. It needs to be highlighted that all courses organized by MILMED COE are accredited by NATO and as a result are available for partner nations in the ePRIME system. Furthermore the Budapest Semmelweis University grants between 40 – 50 CME credits for each course for physicians. For registered nurses the courses are also accredited by the Hungarian National Institute for Quality- and Organizational Development in Healthcare and Medicines. Specific details about the course calendar, topics and registration procedures can be found on the MILMED COE website (www.coemed.org).
In order to support the evidence based development of military medicine in NATO the establishment of a common NATO Trauma Registry is of highest priority. Through engagement of MILMED COE Lessons Learned Branch, ACT, ACO and national representatives in a task force this project made considerable progress over the last years.
Our satellite Branch, the Deployment Health Surveillance Capability (DHSC) located in Munich is making efforts towards developing a new health surveillance tool for the Alliance - currently executing a site survey in Kosovo - backed by France, providing the underlying capability software and expertise, and Germany.
After the successful completion of a large-scale multinational medical exercise organized in Hungary, preparations for Vigorous Warrior 2013 are in progress. This time it will be held in Feldkirchen, Germany on 23-27 September 2013.
Furthermore, two other nations - the United Kingdom and the United States - are going to join our present 7 Steering Nations this year.
Also, we would like to highlight that we – adhering to the NATO regulations – are as open as we can be and welcome any proposals or requests for cooperation from various sources. We believe that the best solutions come from joint and multinational efforts, utilizing civilian-military cooperation as well.
The examples described above only provide a flashlight on MILMED COE’s efforts and activities. However, they show that we are a dynamically improving entity, constantly looking for new opportunities to widen the range and magnitude of our activities, since we believe that no effort can or should be spared when it comes to our ultimate effort: improve and provide tools for the military medical support of our troops.
There are still opportunities for nations who are interested in a participation in MILMED COE to nominate staff either for the Budapest Headquarters or the Munich DHSC Satellite branch. For any further information be invited to visit the MILMED COE for personal talks or have a look at our website.
Capt (N) Dr. Andreas Dierich, MC (DEU)
Deputy Director and Chief of Staff
NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine
Source: Medical Corps International Forum 1/2013