To my colleagues,
I am humbled to serve as Chair of Pediatrics at the Uniformed Services University. Uniformed Pediatricians have an impressive legacy of innovation and excellence in teaching, research, and clinical service made possible by our forbearers and all of you- both on campus and across our national faculty. From my vantage point, I would like to briefly share my vision for our future. As Uniformed Pediatricians, and faculty at America's Medical School, our charge is to improve the health and well-being of children on the home front, the battlefield, and beyond.
Home front. Each of you knows all too well that the military child experiences both unique social and health challenges, as well as incredible opportunities. It is our duty, through education and training, to ensure that the military health system as a whole, and individual providers of all specialties, are able to deliver the most effective and high quality care possible. This not only fills our moral obligation as physicians, but also advances readiness, because the deployed warfighter not only expects cutting edge health care for themselves down-range, but also for the same world-class health system to care for those they leave behind. I am so thankful to each of you for the dedication and excellence you exhibit when teaching- not only the next generation of Uniformed Pediatricians from USU, but also the medical students, military physicians, nurses, medics, and other health professionals across the entire federal health system from military bases around the globe to Indian Health Service clinics in 35 states, all to improve the health of children.
Battle field. During the past two decades of conflict, Military Pediatricians have served with distinction at every echelon of care- there is no question that Military Pediatricians have the knowledge, skills, and ability to preserve the fighting force. Beyond the core resuscitation medicine skills that all military physicians sustain, with 40% of the active duty force aged 24 or younger, force readiness starts with the adolescent and young adult expertise of Military Pediatricians.
Field Marshal von Moltke observed in the late 1800s, that no operational plan survives first contact with the enemy. While our doctrine for deployed medical support rightly focuses on the prevention and treatment of disease non-battle injury and combat trauma for deployed forces, we know that children represent a substantial proportion of battle related trauma and medical emergency casualty flows. Though many of us have first-hand experience with this issue, the broader Department of Defense still does not fully appreciate this gap within our medical doctrine and operational planning. This mission will not diminish on the multi-domain battlefields of the future, and it is our duty to ensure that the DOD has the policy, doctrine, materiel, and training necessary to meet this challenge. The US warfighter has a noble legacy of caring for children put in harms-way by conflict. Our ability to restore children to health and ease their suffering provides both solace to service members, often surrounded by human misery, and is a tangible sign to conflict affected communities of the goodwill of the people of the United States.
Beyond. Whether through Global Health Engagement or through cutting edge research, Pediatrics at USU and across the MHS are aligned to the Department of Defense's mission. Supporting US Government humanitarian response around the globe, or even within our own borders, children are disproportionately affected and in need of timely and targeted health interventions. Uniformed Pediatricians are uniquely positioned to support these missions across the spectrum of conflict through direct service support, education, and training programs that span the DOD and broader USG interagency, and informing policy development.
Furthermore, pediatric research can and should address the emerging needs of both the Military Child and the global community that we serve. As Uniformed Pediatricians, we should take the lead addressing the unique health needs of the Military Child. We can also strengthen the visibility of how our research improves the readiness and welfare of war-fighters by addressing dual threats, and the novel application of our results that are relevant to both populations. Spanning academic hubs, such as USU and military medical centers, as well as community hospitals and clinics, epidemiologic, basic science, and clinical research will strengthen communities of practice, build research collaborations, and set priorities that drive initiatives to unlock the potential of our national faculty and create a new era in pediatric research across the Military Health System.
I thank you for the committed dedication that typifies your approach to our collective mission and I look forward to working with you to meet the tasks at hand and the challenges ahead.
Patrick W. Hickey, MD
Colonel, Medical Corps, US Army
Chair of Pediatrics