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Defense Institute for Medical Operations exchanges skills with doctors in Guyana

  • Published
  • By Kevin Walston
  • Operation Southern Partner Public Affairs
A specialized military medical team has formed an integral part of Operation Southern Partner by increasing the training and proficiency of partner nations in the U.S. Southern Command area of focus. 

Operation Southern Partner is a two-week 12th Air Force-led event providing intensive, subject matter exchanges with partner nation Air Forces in career fields identified by participants. The exchanges cover dozens of specialties interfacing with not only host-nation experts in Jamaica, but also Barbados, Guyana, St. Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago and Belize. 

The medical team is part of the Defense Institute for Medical Operations at Brooks City Base, Texas. Their mission - provide the highest quality of international medical education and training. 

Maj. Kimberly Reed, chief of DIMO's clinical operations division, said the unit, comprised of about 20 people and established in 2002, is focused solely on assisting other countries in improving their level of medical care. 

Missions are closely choreographed, with specific specialties forming each team to ensure the right mix of subject matter experts is present for each mission. DIMO doesn't have the personnel infrastructure in place to support the variety of missions it teaches, and must task other organizations to assist in accomplishing its mission, Reed said. 

"(We) task doctors, nurses and medical technicians from Wilford Hall Medical Center and other facilities to form the core of each team," she said. "We provide whatever type of training a nation requests - from first responder to aeromedical evacuation." 

The team, which arrived here Sunday following a five-day stay in Guyana, South America, will provide a contingent of Jamaican military doctors, nurses and medical technicians with first responder training. The training will focus not only on initial injury assessment, but also on what actions to take during a crisis, Reed said. 

"First responders are the initial people to see and evaluate a person after an injury," Reed, who's been a nurse for 13 years, said. "Whether it's a person on the street, a paramedic, or a nurse at the door of the hospital, time is of the essence and could be a key factor regarding how successful follow-on treatment will be." 

The specialized unit travels abroad to teach 19 medical courses and has two in-residence courses taught at its Brooks City Base location. Since its inception in 2002, DIMO has provided medical education and training to more than 4,500 students in 100 different countries.