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International Health Specialist (IHS) Program

International Health Specialist emblem

Vision: To be the leaders in USAF global health engagements

Mission: To provide global health expertise in support of national security cooperation objectives

The International Health Specialist (IHS) program, established in 2000 by former U.S. Air Force (USAF) Surgeon General Lt Gen Paul K Carlton, Jr., (USAF retired), extends operational reach of the Joint Forces. This cadre of health professionals bring diversified international skills and knowledge of military and civilian health disciplines to full time advisor roles within Combatant Commands, Major Commands, and Air Force Component Commands in support of Global Health Engagement (GHE) strategies. There are over 300 IHS Special Experience Identifier (SEI) Airmen at military treatment facilities around the globe, ready to respond to GHE assignments and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

Specifically, International Health Specialists:

  • Plan, lead, and execute health-related regional security cooperation activities.
  • Assist in U.S. military support to interagency and U.S. government humanitarian assistance/disaster response and health infrastructure development.
  • Increase interoperability between the U.S. and partner nations.
  • Bring their individual medical expertise along with proficiency in a partner-nation language and in-depth understanding of military, economic, cultural, and health aspects in their assigned region.

Program Office

  • Wesley Palmer, Col

    Chief, USAF IHS
  • Ruben Matos,
    Lt Col

    Deputy Chief, USAF
    IHS Program
  • Belen De Leon,

    Senior Advisor, USAF
    IHS Program
  • Catalina
    Caldwell, MSgt

    Manager, USAF
    IHS Program

News from the Field

News Comments Updated
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A group of U.S. Air Force Medical International Health Specialists (IHSs) pose for a group photo at the 2017 Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS) conference, Nov 30, 2017. IHSs are made up of health care professionals who bring their diverse intercultural, medical, and military operations experiences together to build partnership capabilities in allied countries. (U.S. Air Force photo by Karina Luis) International health specialists employ unique skills to build medical capabilities with partner nations
Healthcare is a critical avenue to strengthen partnerships with U.S. allies around the globe. The Air Force International Health Specialist (IHS) program takes highly trained Air Force health personnel with unique skill sets, and puts them in Global Health Engagements (GHEs) around the world.
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Pacific Angel 17 U.S. forces, Nepalese soldiers set up medical outreach during Pacific Angel 17
Members of Pacific Angel (PACANGEL) 17 set up a health services outreach site in Gorkha, Nepal, Aug. 13, 2017.
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Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Flt. Lt. Corey Wilson, right, a dental officer with the 2nd Expeditionary Health Services Wing at RAAF Base Williamtown, Australia, asks his patient to open her mouth as RAAF Leading Aircraft Woman Amanda Walters, left, the senior dental assistant with the Joint Health Command in Wagga Wagga, Australia, waits to hand him tools during Pacific Angel (PACANGEL) 17-3 at Tagitagi Sangam School and Kindergarten in Tavua, Fiji, July 17, 2017. The duo worked side-by-side with their Fijian and U.S. partners to ensure the local community receives dental care as part of the humanitarian assistance exercise PACANGEL 17-3, that has been conducted since 2007. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton) Multilateral partnerships key to ongoing PACANGEL 17-3 success
Five nations from across the Indo-Asia-Pacific region joined U.S. service members and Republic of Fiji Military Forces for Pacific Angel 17-3 to conduct multilateral humanitarian assistance and civil military operations here, July 11-24.
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Dr. John Cinco, founder of Pacific Angel (PACANGEL), talks with the children of Anapog Integrated School during PACANGEL 2017 in San Remigio, Northern Cebu Province, Philippines, June 29, 2017. PACANGEL is a multilateral humanitarian assistance civil military engagement, which improves military-to-military partnerships in the Pacific while also providing medical health outreach, civic engineering projects and subject matter exchanges among partner forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Jeff Andrejcik) Pacific Angel pioneer returns for its 10 year anniversary
Retired U.S. Air Force Col. John Cinco, better known now as “Doc Cinco”, is considered to be the “Father” of Pacific Angel, an initiative he shaped a little over a decade ago.
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U.S. Air Force Capt. Ricardo Sequeira, 628th Medical Operations Support Squadron and 14th Airlift Squadron flight surgeon, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, right, talks to a member of the Honduran air force about flight medicine during an aerospace medicine subject matter expert exchange in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, April 4. The goal of the global health exchange is to share best practices, enhance relationships, and build partnership capacities. Airmen use special experience to foster relationships during Global Health Engagement
A team of five Airmen, two with a special experience identifier earned through the International Health Specialist (IHS) program, traveled to Tegucigalpa, Honduras to work side-by-side with their Honduran air force counterparts during a subject matter expert exchange here, April 3. Airmen with an IHS certification were able to provide diversified international skills and knowledge of military and civilian health disciplines used to facilitate the five-day engagement by enabling flight medicine knowledge to be shared across a language barrier, which helps strengthen partnerships.
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The Defense Institute of Medical Operations partnered with the Rwandan Defense Force last month for to complete phase three of a project to create Rwanda's first High Fidelity Medical Modeling and Simulation Center, located at the Rwandan Military Hospital. The medical simulation center will help equip military personnel with necessary skills to save the lives of peacekeepers injured while on U.N. missions, and will also serve as a tool to strengthen the general health system in the Rwanda. Over three weeks, the DIMO team certified 28 RDF personnel in International Trauma Life Support, and conducted “train the trainer” courses, so that six RDF personnel are now qualified as potential instructors. Subsequent training will include in-hospital care, and hopefully achieving status as an ITLS training center, allowing the RDF to fully train and certify others to use their newly acquired capability and capacity. U.S. Service members train Rwanda Defense Force Members to use High Fidelity Medical Modeling and Simulation Center
The Defense Institute of Medical Operations partnered with the Rwandan Defense Force last month for
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Master Sgt. Millicent Cavazos cleans Luz Dari’s teeth during last year’s Dental Readiness Training Exercise at the Rio San Juan hospital, Dominican Republic. The DENTRETE, which is part of the 2016 NEW HORIZONS exercise, provides an opportunity for U.S. military dentists and dental technicians to practice their craft in a deployed environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Chenzira Mallory/released) Upcoming exercises in Latin America to help Air Force achieve total dental readiness
Air Force dentists, hygienists and dental technicians are gearing up for three Dental Readiness
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September 2016 Science Cafe.                      
U.S. Air Force Col. Antonio Jose Delgado, Medical Corps, the interim director of the International Health Specialist Program at the Air Force Medical Support Agency, spoke about global health engagement during the September Medical Museum Science Café, at the National Museum of Health and Medicine on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (Disclosure: This image has been cropped to emphasize the subject.) (National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart/ Released) Science Café hosts Air Force to discuss global health engagement
Air Force Colonel (Dr.) Antonio Delgado had all eyes on him last month as he presented at the
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U.S. Air Force Maj. Kimberly Polston, a flight nurse with the United States Air Forces in Europe Surgeon Generals Office, signals a medical team to start an evacuation during an training at Southern Accord 2015 in Lusaka, Zambia. The annual exercise provides U.S. military, United Nations allies and Zambian Defense Forces an opportunity to work and train together as a joint, combined peacekeeping allied force. (U.S. Army Africa photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brian Kimball) International Health Specialist Uses Nursing And Operational Skills To Make A Difference
U.S. Airmen and defense force members from Kenya and Uganda concluded training for the first-ever
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Col Antonio Delgado (pictured center), current Interim Director of AFMS International Health Specialist program, at an intubation station at CASEVAC training for Mexican Navy Medical Residents in Mexico City, Mexico. July 2016. Hispanic Heritage Springboards Ability to Foster Relations with Partner Nations
During National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 to October 15, the Department of Defense
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