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Air Force medical leaders gather to discuss the future of healthcare

  • Published
  • By J.D. Levite
  • Air Force Surgeon General Public Affairs
This week, the Air Force Medical Service is hosting a Senior Leadership Workshop for medical leaders at the National Conference Center in Leesburg.

Close to 400 officers and noncommissioned officers will gather to discuss ideas and share observations related to the theme of “Air Force Medicine in Action – Powering Health and Performance.” The workshop covers four days of sessions including interactive activities, a look at medical innovation, and speeches from some of the top members of the AFMS and the Air Force.

Lt. Gen. Mark Ediger, the Air Force Surgeon General, kicked off the workshop Monday with a look at the AFMS strategic environment. He highlighted a lot of the progress the AFMS had made in the last year and also looked at what needs to improve. He said, “We are about care. We are about operational support. We are about readiness. We will spend a significant amount of time talking and thinking about those three things as we move through the week between now and Thursday.”

Ediger’s speech focused on his four strategic priorities: Full Spectrum Readiness, Integrated Operational Support, the Air Force Medical Home, and Trusted Care. The AFMS has made progress with a lot of these strategies, but he also admonished that there’s still room for improvement.

He said the future will progress based on several assumptions, including the need to continue to educate and train deploying Airmen and developing en route capabilities. He said, “We know that reaching beyond the walls of our military treatment facilities will be a priority, and a growing priority, with the Air Force leadership. Taking the expertise we have within the walls of our MTF and actually making it available to the squadron commander will gain importance.”

Monday’s keynote speaker was Gen. Stephen Wilson, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force. He highlighted some of the keys to growth throughout the Air Force, including researching innovation, enhancing great ideas and continuing to find new ways to hunt for the best talent. He told the group of leaders assembled before him, “Thanks for your leadership. Thanks for what you’re doing. Thanks for empowering our Airmen because that’s where innovation comes from.”

Many of the sessions the Airmen at this event will participate in throughout the week will focus not only on ways to improve their understanding of the goals Ediger has set for them but also take a look at ways to improve on all the good things they’re already doing.

Chief Master Sgt. Jason Pace, the Chief of the Medical Enlisted Force, spoke about many of the medical enlisted Airmen doing good things, including junior Airmen developing suicide prevention programs and informational pamphlets on hearing loss.

Ediger and Pace also took time to acknowledge the three medical Airmen who distinguished themselves as part of the Air Force-wide 2016 Airmen of the Year awards. Pace said, “Thank you for being ambassadors for the Air Force and especially for the AFMS.”

Sessions over the next few days will include updates on Emergency Medical Services, the Exceptional Family Member Program, electronic health records and MHS Genesis, and many, many other topics important to the AFMS. 

USAF. (U.S. Air Force Graphic by Rosario "Charo" Gutierrez)