By Valerie A. Kremer, Navy Medicine Public Affairs
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (NNS) -- Navy Medicine leadership met with local healthcare providers, civic groups, community leaders, and corporate executives to discuss shared medical initiatives as part of Chattanooga Navy Week, June 16-17.
Rear Adm. Donald Gintzig, deputy chief, medical operations and future plans, Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, was the senior medical officer representing Navy Medicine during Chattanooga Navy Week.
"It is great to be in the city of Chattanooga who has a long standing commitment and legacy of support of the military," said Gintzig. "We are America's Navy and this is a wonderful opportunity to take the Navy to Americans in the heart land."
Of the nearly 330,000 active duty Sailors across the Navy, 9,000 come from Tennessee. An additional 2,000 Reserve Sailors also hail from the state, and more than 11,500 retired Navy veterans live in Tennessee, Gintzig noted.
During a meeting with leadership at Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation, Gintzig shared Navy Medicine's dedication and advancements in providing continued rehabilitative care to wounded warriors. In addition, both parties focused on the critical piece of patient and family centered care in the healing process and the task of integrating rehabilitated patients back into the community.
"Developing this critical process of rehabilitation and sharing these best practices with Siskin helps to create relationships between military and civilian health care systems," said Gintzig. "Developing these multi-organizational relationships will help to expand the continuum of care that wounded warriors and their families receive."
Gintzig was also taken by helicopter to Erlanger Health Care System where he met with leadership, staff, and patients and toured the facility where he heralded Erlanger's work in trauma care.
"As this region's trauma center, Erlanger sets itself apart in terms of a tertiary level referral center with their MEDEVAC capability to reach out to a wide population of those in need," said Gintzig. "Meeting with Erlanger leadership was a great exchange in discussing the similar roles in the care Navy Medicine provides to our patients."
During the week, Gintzig also met with emergency medical and rescue staff at the Hamilton County Special Tactics and Rescue Services (STARS) to discuss trauma care, lifesaving techniques, and procedures currently used by Navy medical personnel on the battlefield in Afghanistan. Gintzig further acknowledged the unprecedented skills and life saving abilities the STARS bring to Chattanooga and the tri-state area of Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama.
"Navy Medicine has made great strides in providing resuscitative skills and medical/surgical interventions on the battlefield and at home, coupled with extensive research and development, which has made a difference in saving lives of our Sailors and Marines," said Gintzig. "Sharing this knowledge and learning about the outstanding work the STARS do has been an added benefit of Chattanooga Navy Week."
Next, Gintzig shared Navy Medicine's role in an overall accountable care program with leadership and staff from Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Tennessee.
"Navy Medicine cares for its Sailors, Marines, and their families during the continuum of their lives," said Gintzig. "It is critical to focus on prevention, disease management, and injury treatment across the continuum of care."
Gintzig further highlighted to the BCBS leadership Navy Medicine's role in the maritime strategy.
"Navy Medicine also plays a vital role in supporting the five 'hard power' capabilities of the maritime strategy: forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, and maritime security; because no ship, submarine, aircraft or other Navy asset deploys without the support of Navy Medicine," said Gintzig. "In addition, Navy Medicine projects and executes 'soft power', the maritime strategy's final priority, through its most visible role in humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HADR) missions."
Other Navy Medicine engagements during Chattanooga Navy Week meeting key community leaders at the Riverbend Festival and a radio interview with WPLZ, among others.
Navy Medicine is a global healthcare network of 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.
Chattanooga Navy Week is one of 21 Navy weeks across the country this year. Navy Weeks are designed to show Americans the investment they make in their Navy and increase awareness in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence.