LIMA, Peru --
Nine medical and aviation personnel from the U.S. Air Force traveled to Lima, Peru as part of a subject matter expert exchange with the Peruvian air force May 15-19, 2017.
During the five-day engagement, the U.S. Airmen worked closely with their Peruvian counterparts to share information on medical training, standards and evaluation, and public health. Medics, nurses and physiologists from both countries conducted briefings and held breakout discussion sessions, sometimes working across a language barrier to further strengthen the partnership between the U.S. and Peru.
U.S. Air Force Maj. María Elena, 432nd Wing Aerospace and Operational Physiologist from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, emphasized the mutual exchange of knowledge as a crucial part of the trip.
“These engagements have been very fruitful,” María Elena said. “Not only have we been able to either reinforce and validate what our partner nation is doing but also learn some of the innovative ways they've been able to utilize the same tools and resources.”
“The bottom line is going to be building a relationship that is conducive for friendly relationships,” María Elena added.
Peruvian air force director of health Gen. Julio Espinoza Garcia, says the exchange of information between the U.S. and Peru is essential for both countries.
“In the area of health, it is very important that we can count on the United States,” Garcia said. “The experience that they bring is valuable and the United States can also learn from our work as well.”
“This exchange is something I consider very important for our country,” Garcia added.
A key part of the engagement focused on quality of care. Both countries discussed the best ways to improve and refine patient’s experiences with their health providers.
“One of the great things that came out of this exchange was working together to make sure that the best care is delivered for the patient,” said Lt. Col. Donna Tew, Chief Nurse, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. “We worked with the Peruvians to make sure programs are working in sync with each other to deliver the best care.”
Tew further emphasized the shared experiences U.S. medical personnel have with their Peruvian counterparts.
“We build these partnerships because we have a lot of common threads.” Tew said. “We all want to deliver great patient care, we all want to be highly trained.”
“Our workloads are similar and we take care of similar cases, so we have a lot in common,” Tew added. “I think we can learn a lot from them.”
Although the team of U.S. medical experts discussed a range of medical subject matter, several team members highlighted how working with Peruvian nurses has been personally rewarding and informative.
“I always get something back from them,” said Senior Master Sgt. Felicita Sueiras, Physiology Program Superintendent, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas.
“For me it’s important to understand that everybody has something to give,” Sueiras said. “Just visiting with them and seeing how their program is running is unbelievable, it’s really an amazing experience.”