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NEWS | April 6, 2020

NATO partners come together again to discuss global medical challenges

By Maj. Michael Meyer Medical Readiness and Training Command

Medical Readiness and Training Command members participated in the Interallied Confederation of Medical Reserve Officers (CIOMR) Mid-Winter Congress at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 18-21.

“CIOMR is an organization with the purpose of bringing NATO partners together with a focus on the interoperability challenges of Reserve medical officers,” said Brig. Gen. Lisa L. Doumont, commanding general, MRTC. “We all come together twice each year to discuss operational medicine, lessons learned, and techniques, tactics and procedures.”

“CIOMR also serves an important role because it has a representative of the world’s medical reserve officers on the Committee of the Chiefs of Military Medical Services in NATO,” said Maj. Katie Odom, an exercise and training development officer with 3rd Medical Training Brigade, MRTC.

The CIOMR Mid-Winter Congress was focused on the health challenges of the migration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea— including refugee healthcare and challenges with rescuing migrants offshore.

“Civil and military organizations will both participate in the next CIOMR Summer Congress planned for August, which will be about responding to infectious diseases,” said Odom, who also serves on the CIOMR scientific committee. “This is where we can bring the collective expertise of CIOMR to bear, develop important cross-cultural dialogues, and improve our collective response to global emergencies like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

Odom was selected for the Martelet Cup, at the previous CIOMR Summer Congress Aug. 2019, for presenting her research team’s findings in a report titled “Behavioral Health Management Following a Severe Burn Injury: A Pilot Study and the Way Forward for the U.S. Army Burn Center and Indicators for Brief PTSD Management in Operation.”

The Martelet Cup is an annual award established in the name of Brig. Gen. Francois R. Martelet, France, CIOMR Secretary General. It was established to reward the best scientific paper presented at CIOMR by a medical reserve officer.

“The study was a preliminary pilot study aimed at brief prolonged exposure therapy to treat PTSD,” said Odom. “Prolonged exposure is a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy that teaches individuals to gradually approach trauma-related memories, feelings and situations, instead of avoiding the symptoms. Since burn patients have one of the highest rates of PTSD, it’s an ideal population to trial the treatment method and demonstrate efficacy.”

“There is huge potential in CIOMR for partnership building,” said Odom. “I have been asked to go to the United Kingdom in November to speak at their amputee care center, as well as to attend their version of the joint medical operations planning and humanitarian response course in Lichfield, England.”

During the conference, Odom coordinated a partnership with CIOMR and the U.S. Army Reserve Company and Field Grade Officers Leadership Development Course. Col. Jaisan Mahan, vice president of the CIOMR U.K. delegation, will attend as a leadership speaker and consultant. CIOMR will also send six international officers from the U.K., Canada, Germany, and Italy to attend the course in the summer.

In another example of joint partnership, Doumont also invited CIOMR delegates to attend future medical training exercises hosted by MRTC—particularly Global Medic, the largest joint patient movement and medical field training exercise within the Dept. of Defense. MRTC enables the U.S. Armed Forces to maintain a ready status by providing campaign-quality joint accredited collective medical training exercises.

More than 2,700 personnel participate annually in Global Medic at Fort McCoy, Wisc. and Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. including the visiting medical units, exercise control support staff, and MRTC’s observer-coaches and trainers. Participants include joint units from all components of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force. Multinational partners have included units from Germany, the U.K., Canada, and Saudi Arabia.

“In 2019, we had the largest participation of international partners yet in Global Medic,” said Doumont. “We hope to continue having greater international participation year after year.”

To learn more about MRTC and Global Medic visit
Learn more about CIOMR by visiting their Twitter @CIOMR_NATO