Tuesday, May 12, 2015

DoD, VA to Share Amputee Medical Care Innovations

By Elaine Sanchez
Brooke Army Medical Center

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, May 11, 2015 – Health care providers from Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs facilities across the world will gather here next week for a joint training symposium focused on the latest innovations in amputee care.

In its second year, the Federal Advanced Amputation Skills Training Symposium, or FAAST, will aim to equip DoD and VA physicians, therapists, prosthetists and other clinicians with a multitude of lessons learned from the past decade of war. The symposium will be hosted by the Center for the Intrepid, Brooke Army Medical Center’s state-of-the-art outpatient rehabilitation center, May 19-21.

The symposium is expected to draw over 100 DoD and VA professionals from across the nation as well as a handful of physicians from the Colombian army seeking to improve amputee care in our partner nation, noted John Shero, director of the DoD-VA Extremity Trauma and Amputation Center of Excellence, or EACE.

Sharing Information is ‘Vital’

“FAAST is a great opportunity to learn from each other and to establish contacts,” Shero said. “It’s vital for our patients that we share information, not just within a single care venue, but across both the DoD and VA amputee care systems.”

Each day will feature morning sessions presented by nationally and internationally renowned subject-matter experts, Shero explained, followed by hands-on training in areas such as adaptive sports equipment, the use of 3-D printing in rehabilitation, and blood-flow restricted strength training.

Sessions such as “Intimacy After Injury” and “Depression Recognition and Treatment” will stress the importance of tending to emotional as well as physical well-being, he said.

“We’ve learned that an optimal model for amputee care places the patient at the center of the process and addresses their care needs with an integrated, multidisciplinary team,” Shero said. “We are taking that same holistic approach with our agenda.”

The goal is to equip attendees with skills that can be immediately applied to short- and long-term patient care, said Stuart Campbell, CFI’s program manager.

Facilitating Learning

“We hand-picked topics that would have the best bang for the buck for these providers,” he said.

To facilitate learning, Campbell invited several patients to attend and share their experiences and challenges, including a Vietnam veteran and retired Army colonel as the keynote speaker.

“They are representative of our nation’s warriors for the past 50 to 60 years,” Campbell said, “and a direct reflection of the patients both the DoD and VA serve. The goal is to raise the level of expertise across the board and deliver world-class amputee care.”

Shero praised both departments for their role in the training.

“The DoD and VA cannot be islands unto themselves; we owe it to the American public, to our patients, to seek improvements across the federal continuum of care,” he said. “Our service members and veterans have made tremendous sacrifices for our nation. Our commitment remains that we will ensure all get the best possible care.”

DoD Education Activity Focuses on College, Career Readiness

By Terri Moon Cronk
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, May 12, 2015 – The Department of Defense Education Activity will begin a new initiative in the fall to better prepare its students for college or careers, the organization’s director said May 8.

DoDEA operates 181 accredited schools in 14 districts located in 12 foreign countries, seven states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. The system serves more than 78,000 children of active duty military and DoD civilian families.

Director Tom Brady said DoDEA’s priority in the College and Career Ready Standards initiative is uniformly giving students the skill sets they’ll need when they graduate, whether they continue on to college or enter the workforce.

“We’re very excited about the College and Career Ready Standards program,” he said. “It will increase our achievement levels and prepare students for the 21st century. We have a wonderful school system, so we’ll start off with a very high bar.”

Preparing Students for Choices

As a school system, DoDEA must prepare its students so they have choices, Brady said. “Not every student is on the same track at the same time,” he added.

Yet, he noted, common denominators exist in the goal of College and Career Ready Standards, such as what employers seek. “What they are looking for in their workforce are employees who can think independently and work together in groups,” he said, and adding that this is what the CCRS will emphasize.

How CCRS Will Work

The CCRS program will debut with mathematics in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade for the 2015-16 school year, he said. Because CCRS education will be gradually introduced through the 2019-20 school year, he added, mathematics will be introduced to the secondary grades next year. Likewise, he said, all subjects will be introduced gradually so students, teachers and parents aren’t overwhelmed.

Aligning With National Standards

Standards-based education also is known as “common core” education, Brady explained, adding that the approach is aligned with rigorous college- and career-ready academic standards to improve student achievement and school operations. DoDEA is aligning with 46 states and the District of Columbia in the national standards-based approach, he noted.

CCRS is important for DoDEA because “[after] our children are with us, they go back to the very school districts that have been implementing the college and career readiness standards in the last five years,” he said.

Assessments Will Measure CCRS

Performance assessment for students and teachers using tests and multiple evaluations will show how the standards are being met, Brady said, and the curriculum will be adjusted as necessary to align with national standards.

“We and will do it thoughtfully and over time,” he said. “Our target is to be the best. “It’s what you do with the results that's critical -- more than testing itself.”

Professional Development Underway

Restructuring DoDEA’s education process and professional development for administrators and teachers is considered more efficient and effective by adopting CCRS, Brady said.

“As with any change, there is some uncertainty and some angst, so we’ll communicate and provide absolutely terrific professional development, because we want our teachers to be comfortable,” he said. “And we're getting great feedback from the teachers that this is long overdue.”

Parents Education Important

Parents are critical in the DoDEA system, Brady said. They will become educated, too, on the program’s implementation with handbooks, a website, and through parent-teacher conferences and opening-day interaction with teachers.

“[When] the parents understand the theory behind the theory, it works out great,” he said. “The key to success is engaged parents. … They’re partners in our success in implementing these standards to make our students the best in the world.”

Face of Defense: Boxing, Books, Bayonets

By Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Corey J. Mendenhall
U.S. Coast Guard Academy Public Affairs

NEW HAVEN, Conn., May 12, 2015 – Even as the ground thaws and the trees begin to green, the memory of a long winter is fresh in New England.

For graduating cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, this past winter was their last spent along the Connecticut coastline. They will soon receive their commissions and disperse across the nation to serve as the Coast Guard’s newest officers.

Some are headed for much warmer shores, as is the case with First Class Cadet Taylor Tennyson, who is bound for the Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered in Miami.

Tennyson’s name may sound familiar: He is one of the most talented boxers to enter the ring in academy history. An All-American, the Virginia Beach-native became a National Collegiate Boxing Association Champion in 2013.

One of Nation's Best

“Tennyson might be the best pound-for-pound college fighter in the country,” said Ed Miller of the Virginian-Pilot in a 2014 article.

He had not boxed before coming to the academy, but Tennyson was quickly won over by the sport and the many lessons it teaches.

“I liked it. I ended up being pretty decent at it, so I stuck with it,” Tennyson said. “Getting into the ring with someone requires tenacity. It’s taking a challenge head on and going at it directly. I like to apply that to how I handle situations and to tackle them head on.”

Tennyson also applies these same lessons to military leadership.

“It’s not bad that you lose if you learn from it,” he said. “Mistakes are going to happen, but as long as you learn from them and become a better officer from them, you’re going to continue to succeed.”

Scholar, Athlete, Coast Guardsman

Embracing the Academy’s three tenets of academic, athletic and military training, Tennyson has not only proved himself in the boxing ring, but also in the classroom and on the parade field.

Tennyson is on the Board of Trustees Honor List, having earned three uniform stars for excellence in military, academic and athletic performance.

To earn this honor, cadets must simultaneously attain a grade point average above 3.15, be in the top 25 percent of their class in military performance, and obtain a score of 270 or higher on the Physical Fitness Examination. Cadets on the Board of Trustees list are among the top two percent in the rankings of the entire Corps of Cadets.

History of Service

Tennyson comes from a family with a proud history of service to the country. His brothers, uncles and father, have or are currently serving in the military.

“I’m the first Coast Guardsman,” said Tennyson. “I wanted to join the military, but I also wanted to do something a little bit different than everyone else.”

During his second-class summer, Tennyson served as a member of the Cadre, instructing and training the incoming fourth-class cadets during swab summer.

“I really enjoyed the fact that I was involved with their first taste of the military,” said Tennyson. “I still remember my Cadre’s names to this day, so being able to be a part of that big step from civilians to military members was a privilege.”

Education Continues After Graduation

Tennyson is a government major. He was drawn to the humanities in high school and knew that was what he wanted to pursue academically at the academy.

“It involves in-depth thinking, contemplating the issues, and trying to figure out the best solution,” said Tennyson. “I got the chance to voice my opinion, and voice my beliefs about a lot of interesting topics and current world events that actually matter and mean something to the service.”

He plans to couple his academic knowledge of government and humanities with practical law enforcement training once in the fleet. “I’m looking forward to getting as much law enforcement experience as I can,” Tennyson said.

Four years of full days and restless nights at the Academy can be difficult for a graduating cadet to describe in a few words. When it comes to the Academy’s main mission of training leaders, there is one lesson Tennyson will carry with him.

“Remember how it was to be the follower. Remember what you liked and disliked about leaders and use that to steer your leadership philosophy,” he said. “Lead how you would like to be led.”