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The State of Air Force Medicine: An Interview with the Air Force Surgeon General


– Well, as we know, Air Force capabilities are in high demand, and the mission around the world is really requiring our
Airmen to be innovative and adapt their capabilities to meet the operational challenges. And, as they do that, we in Air Force medicine must adapt with them. Our focal point for that is the
711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. And, they work within in
the Air Force research lab to conduct a variety of human
performance-related research and actually develop products that can be transitioned into the
operational environment. And, so, they’ve been
doing a great deal of work on oxygen systems in the new
generation of fighter aircraft, also, techniques for measuring and assessing visual performance. The new generation of fighter aircraft use some very advanced
displays for the pilot. We’ve learned a great deal
from the last 15 years of war, and we’ve really learned those lessons as part of a joint team. Vascular surgery is a specialty that, prior to these last 15 years of war, we would not have really deployed, or a service member would
have come under the care of a vascular surgeon
until they had returned to a medical center in the US. They have the ability to repair major blood vessel injuries
that previously would have resulted in an amputation
in a field hospital setting, and actually restore blood flow
by using advanced techniques and thereby enabling
the salvage of a limb. We are very active
participants in a DOD wide and a VA effort to identify
the best evidence-based treatments for post
traumatic stress disorder and for traumatic brain injury. And, so, there’s a very
active research program in the Department of Defense. A defense health program
had $126 million budgeted through a Congressional
appropriation in 2016, fiscal year ’16, for this purpose. And, so the Air Force is
actively participating in a number of research
projects to identify new and better ways to
manage PTSD in particular. Maintaining our readiness
and continuing to support operational medicine really
doesn’t allow us to ever transmit to what we would
consider a peacetime setting. We work day to day to
balance operational support, our deployed operations, and our provision of day to day health care and
maintain the right balance. The commanders of our
hospitals and clinics work day to day to ensure
that those three main phases of our mission are all
given appropriate priority.

Tony wyaad

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