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News | Aug. 9, 2021

U.S. Army Surgeon General visits Tripler Army Medical Center

By Spc. Madison Meier and Mackenzie Walsh

Tripler Army Medical Center hosted Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Command and 45th Army Surgeon General, during a visit to Oahu, July 28-30. Throughout his visit, Dingle was accompanied by Command Sgt. Maj. Diamond D. Hough, MEDCOM command sergeant major.

To kick off their trip to Tripler, Dingle and Hough met with Hawaii’s Army Medicine leaders to discuss strategies for effective patient care within military health facilities, and the importance of strong leadership for the future of Army Medicine.

Two stops on the MEDCOM leaders’ tour of the facility were the Interdisciplinary Pain Management Clinic and the Tripler Medical Simulation Center. “The IPMC specializes in non-pharmacological strategies to empower patients to manage symptoms of pain and optimize their performance in spite of pain,” said Jill Panos, chief of IPMC. Hough was able to experience battlefield acupuncture, a form of auricular acupuncture that helps to provide immediate pain relief for both acute and chronic pain, while in the IPMC.

The IPMC proves beneficial to military readiness by utilizing holistic restoration for service members through education, treatment and self-management training, Panos said. “These approaches aim to decrease reliance on passive therapies, medical treatments and medications to help our service members meet the demands of active duty service, and execute the mission,” said Panos. At the TMSC, Dingle participated in a medical trauma simulation as the acting surgical first assistant for an emergent exploratory laparotomy performed by Dr. (Maj.) Kelli Tavares, the General Surgery chief resident.

Simulations like these are designed to test medics on individual critical task list items involving a grenade accident, said Col. Dwight Kellicut, deputy commander, Directorate of Academics, Research, and Training.
“Tripler’s center is a fully accredited, state of the art, training facility that provides unique, multidisciplinary education to best prepare the full spectrum of our medical teams through individual and procedural skill building, team skill building, multidisciplinary crisis team building, Trauma System Assessment Training, and more,” said Kellicut.

Throughout the visit, several members of the Tripler ‘Ohana, both Soldiers and Civilians were recognized by Dingle for their leadership and contributions to Army Medicine. One of those individuals is Maj. Andrew “A.J.” Galdi, a physician assistant and deputy commander for Health Readiness at Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic. Galdi, who previously served as the Army Baylor Resident for Tripler, was named 2020’s recipient of The U.S. Surgeon General’s Physician Assistant Recognition Award.

Galdi contributed to numerous advances in military medicine spanning from military readiness, healthcare delivery and academia while at Tripler. One example was Galdi’s his development of a life-saving massive transfusion protocol, which demonstrated significant blood product cost savings, improved patient safety, and clinical decision capability. While at Tripler, Dingle also recognized and decorated the winners of MEDCOM’s inaugural Best Leader Competition, which wrapped up July 30. “When the Army is called upon to deploy today, fight tonight, Army Medicine is right there to return them to duty tomorrow,” remarked Dingle in his opening comments awards ceremony, hosted at Tripler.

The Best Leader Competition title went to the team from Regional Health Command-Pacific, comprised of three Soldiers from Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic and one from U.S. Army Medical Department Activity-Korea. “The best leader for the United States Army is a Soldier medic,” said Dingle.

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