Advanced Medical Technology Capacity Building and the Medical Mentoring Event: A Unique Application of SOF Counterinsurgency Medical Engagement Strategies

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Irizarry DJ, Tate C, Bingham MT, Wey P, Batjom E, Nicholas TA, Boedecker BH 12(1). 24 - 30 (Journal Article)

The Medical Civic Assistance Program (MEDCAP) is a military commander's tool developed during the Vietnam War to gain access to and positively influence an indigenous population through the provision of direct medical care provided by military medical personnel, particularly in Counter Insurgency Operations (COIN). An alternative to MEDCAPs is the medical seminar (MEDSEM). The MEDSEM uses a Commander's military medical assets to share culturally appropriate medical information with a defined indigenous population in order to create a sustainable training resource for the local population's health system. At the heart of the MEDSEM is the "train the trainer" concept whereby medical information is passed to indigenous trainers who then pass that information to an indigenous population. The MEDSEM achieves the Commander's objectives of increasing access and influence with the population through a medical training venue rather than direct patient care. Previous MEDSEMS conducted in Afghanistan by military forces focused on improvement of rural healthcare through creation of Village Health Care Workers. This model can also be used to engage host nation (HN) medical personnel and improve medical treatment capabilities in population centers. The authors describe a modification of the MEDSEM, a Medical Mentorship (MM), conducted in November 2010 in Kabul, Afghanistan, at the Afghan National Army (ANA) National Medical Hospital. This training was designed to improve intubation skills in Afghan National Army Hospitals by ANA medical providers, leave residual training capability, and build relationships within the institution that not only assist the institution, but can also be leveraged to foster Commanders' objectives, such as health and reconstruction initiatives and medical partnering for indigenous corps and medical forces described below.

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