U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. --
For more than 20 years, a modest office nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains has created some of the most comprehensive health education and training programs in the nation.
The Center of Excellence for Medical Multimedia, or CEMM, was founded in 1996 by Dr. Kent Murphy under a simple, yet striking maxim: “Because we’re all patients.”
“This was started in the late 90’s just as computers and the internet were coming together to allow patients to access health information,” said Murphy, now a retired Air Force colonel and surgeon.
By joining the expertise of leading medical minds, film industry professionals and IT experts, he envisioned up-to-date medical information delivered with cutting edge production values to patients across the world.
“[I wanted to] help patients and their families more fully understand their medical conditions, the treatment options available to them and any possible consequences of their decisions,” said Murphy.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a patient’s health literacy, or the ability to access and understand medical information in order to make informed health care decisions, directly corresponds to his or her health.
“From a military perspective, greater health literacy means heightened readiness,” said current CEMM chief Maj. Nikki Robinson. “If Airmen are physically and mentally healthy, they are fit to fight; if their families are being cared for at home, they can better focus on the mission.”
The CEMM aims to improve health literacy and inspire proactive behavior in patients by explaining dozens of health conditions via forthright, evidence-based multimedia programs.
After determining a need for training or an educational production, members of the CEMM work with multimedia production professionals and Air Force subject matter experts to perfect the scripts. From there, depending on what the program calls for, production can take place anywhere from on location locally, to production studios and bases across the country.
This method is proven: in the 22 years since its inception, the CEMM has won 94 national awards for excellence in multimedia. What started as a two-man shop in a vacant office space grew into a production powerhouse. Last year alone, the CEMM’s programs garnered over 2.8 million unique views online.
The CEMM also fulfills orders for physical media, averaging about 140,000 units per year of DVDs, CDs, and literature for military treatment facilities across the country and overseas, free of charge.
“We find that many patients and providers across the Air Force can’t get enough of these resources once they learn about them,” said Robinson.
Over the years, the CEMM’s repertoire has grown to encompass everything from suicide prevention training to diabetes education. Today, the CEMM offers more than 20 medical programs in addition to dozens of leadership and airman training videos, public service announcements and promotional videos.
For more information on the CEMM’s programs or to request a production for your unit, visit cemm.org, cemmlibrary.org or wingmanonline.org.