Military Medical Research Conference Drives Home Need to Partner to Support Warfighter
Approximately 320 military, academic and industry representatives gathered at the second annual Medical Research, Development and Acquisition in Support of the Warfighter conference, co-hosted by the National Defense Industrial Association and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, April 19-20 at the Turf Valley Conference Center in Ellicott City, Maryland.
The goal of the networking event was to help organizations understand the structure of the USAMRMC, its current research priorities and potential collaboration opportunities. While attendees came from different arenas, everyone was there to find out ways that they could support the Warfighter through partnering with the USAMRMC.
Attendees were able to learn directly from military leadership on mission priorities and gap areas to better understand partnership opportunities. Key conference topics included: military infectious diseases, combat casualty care, clinical and rehabilitative medicine, occupational/environmental health and performance, and brain health.
In his opening remarks during the conference kickoff, Maj. Gen. Brian C. Lein, commander of the USAMRMC and Fort Detrick, emphasized the importance of partnerships to achieving solutions to issues that Warfighters are currently facing and will face in the future.
"The battlefield that we're going to be fighting on in the future will look nothing like the battlefield that we are fighting on today in Iraq and Afghanistan, just like Iraq and Afghanistan look nothing like the battlefield before in Vietnam, which means that just like before Vietnam looked nothing like Korea and nothing like World War II," said Lein. "We've got to take a step back and say 'What are the challenges that that Soldier, Sailor, Airmen or Marine will be facing in the next 10-15 years?' We need to get ready to go into harm's way; and then once they're in harm's way, what are the injury patterns that we need to help either prevent or treat."
This is the second year for the event, which drew an even larger crowd than the first, and this year also featured special one-on-one sessions for attendees to speak directly and candidly to USAMRMC subject matter experts specifically about their areas of research.
"The Chief of Staff of the Army has directed everyone that our number one goal is readiness," said Lt. Col. Felicia Langel, director of the USAMRMC Strategic Partnerships Office. "And as Maj. Gen Lein has stated previously, we have nothing more important than readiness, and for the Army that really means the readiness of our Soldiers. The partnerships forged during this conference could be the key to finding solutions that are going to be vital to our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines being prepared to carry out their jobs to their fullest potential."
If for some reason, a connection was missed at the conference, there are still many ways to connect with the USAMRMC. One of the easiest is the New Products & Ideas site that allows USAMRMC subject matter experts the ability to access innovative ideas submitted by vendors and evaluate their applicability to its mission and provide feedback to the submitter. Vendors, in turn, can submit their products using an easy two-step, password-protected process. The website can be found at http://mrmc-npi.amedd.army.mil.
"These partnerships between industry, academia, DOD and the other government agencies are critical," said Lein. "The Department of Defense cannot do this alone. There is not enough money for the DOD to answer all of these questions that are going to be out there, and so it is critical for us to partner because you all have the subject matter expertise as well. It is mandatory that we partner together and share our resources and share our knowledge to get after some of these incredibly difficult solutions that we're going to be facing in the future."