By Sgt. Brent Ostrowski
34th Infantry Division Public Affairs
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. (Feb. 2, 2017) – Members of the Minnesota Army and Air National Guard medical community met Jan. 28-29, 2017, at Camp Ripley for the 2017 Minnesota Medical Team Summit for professional development and training to share best practices and discuss the future of military medicine.
Maj. Dean Stulz, Deputy State Surgeon, Minnesota Army National Guard, said the objective of the summit is to bring the medical community of the Minnesota Army and Air National Guard together to share information, spend time together, to network and share resources and expand the medical, as well as logistical, collective knowledge of the medical team.
The weekend agenda for attendees of the summit was wide-ranging with presentations on readiness, training opportunities, policy updates, new techniques and technical capabilities.
Techniques and technology in the medical field, like other industries dependent on technological advances, keep evolving at a fast pace. Many of these concepts and solutions can happen within certain organizations and communities. By keeping open the channels of communication and maintaining professional relationships, these types of summits can create a forum of sharing and learning for those in the military medical community.
Stulz said that what is expected of Soldiers and Airmen when they go back to their units was to implement what they learned. He explained that they “take that knowledge and then figure out a way to implement it in their training plans and expand what they’re doing and broaden their knowledge and then in the end enhance the care available to the Soldiers, Airmen and all military members.”
In regards to the frequency of future summits “the goal is annual” he said. However, coordinating schedules between units, annual training commitments and coordinating with other service branches will continue to be a challenge.
However, despite the challenges, there is a commitment from leadership to continue these types of events in the future. Brigadier General David D. Hamlar, Assistant Adjutant General of the Minnesota Air National Guard came to the summit to show support for joint training with the Minnesota Army National Guard.
Col. Chris Luhman, MD, State Surgeon, Minnesota Army National Guard, began this year’s summit with opening comments. He also reiterated the importance of continuing these joint summits and their objectives.
“There are a couple of goals – the first is to get all the medical folks together who are usually spread across the state, year after year, drill after drill – they never see one another – to get them together for some fellowship and professional relationship building. That’s the number one purpose. The second purpose is to get our folks – give them a chance to get some continuing medical education credits on a drill weekend – because it’s really tough to fit those in during a busy workweek.”
Now that a third Minnesota Medical Team Summit has successfully concluded, momentum seems to favor a fourth joint summit in the next twelve to eighteen months with joint force participation. The expectation is that until the next summit is held, that Service members will implement what they have learned at this third joint meeting with their units and to continue to collaborate together.