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Military Health System Conference a ‘Resounding Success’

Image of Military Health System Conference a ‘Resounding Success’. Over 2,100 people from around the Military Health System, government, academia, and the health care industry attended the 2024 MHS Conference held in Portland, Oregon, April 9–11. (Photo credit: Robert Hammer/MHS Communications)

The 2024 Military Health System Conference brought together more than 2,100 health care professionals from the MHS, government leaders, academia, and members of industry dedicated to military medicine for a week of sharing knowledge and networking in Portland, Oregon, April 9-11. It was the first time the conference was held in a decade.

“It was a resounding success—bringing us together to learn and strengthen the relationships that are such a vital factor in our success,” said Dr. Lester Martinez-López, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.

“I’m grateful to the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Ashish Vazirani for kicking off the week, and for the MHS leaders who provided their perspectives in plenary and breakout sessions,” said Martinez.

Seileen Mullen, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said she was inspired by the speakers and people from different sectors that attended.

“The MHS Conference was an amazing opportunity for collaboration and re-connecting after more than a decade with our MHS teammates and industry partners,” Mullen said , “I’m looking forward to next year!”

Her highlights included “meeting with industry partners, donating blood, and being inspired by the plenary and breakout sessions.”

Attendees not only had the opportunity to learn about current and future endeavors across military health and hear from senior leaders, but also the opportunity to sit in a variety of breakout sessions to learn more about topics that affect the MHS across the spectrum.

With 64 breakout sessions and 11 plenary sessions to choose from, there were opportunities to learn for everyone in attendance.

Sessions included a variety of hot-button issues such as providing a sustainable future nursing workforce, the digital front door, TRICARE, women’s health research initiatives, hiring a civilian workforce, and artificial intelligence in military medicine.

“We need a total force, in and out of uniform, to take care of our people,” said Martinez. “I attended many of the sessions and I really enjoyed them. They were very to the point … I learned a lot just from attending.”

As a vital part of the MHS, the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences played a large part in the event, taking part in many of the plenary and breakout sessions with several faculty and staff participating as speakers.t

Dr. Jonathan Woodson, president of the Uniformed Services University, said the conference “was an invaluable opportunity for our thought leaders to lay the foundation for a new, unified, way forward based on the new MHS Strategic Plan.”

"The 2024 MHS Conference served as a critical forum for military health care leaders to chart the course for an integrated, innovative, and ready future,” said Dr. Lynette Hamlin, professor and associate dean for faculty affairs at the Uniformed Services University. “The focus on collaboration and knowledge sharing resulted in significant takeaways, including innovative approaches to integrated care models, the importance of cutting-edge technologies, and ensuring continued readiness to meet the evolving needs of our military.”

More than 80 companies, partners, organizations, and academic institutions featured their products, work, and research in the exhibit.

The blood drive sponsored by the Armed Services Blood Program drew a daily crowd and collected a total donation of 251 units of blood throughout the week.

“I came away with a better understanding of our opportunities and challenges and with renewed energy and enthusiasm about our ability to meet them,” said Martinez.

Hamlin added, “The collaborative spirit at the conference ensures the MHS remains prepared to deliver high-quality, patient-centered care to our service members."

Woodson concurred, saying, “it was invigorating to see the military medical community come together to discuss innovative ideas, which will ultimately empower our professionals and enhance care for our warfighters and their families."

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Last Updated: May 08, 2024
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