Fort Hood medical professionals gained valuable knowledge during the Operational Medicine Conference on Nov. 4-7 at the Medical Simulation Training Center.

“By allowing credentialed health care providers to understand state of the art in operational medicine, they will be more familiar with the clinical practice guidelines that we’re supposed to follow in deployed settings,” said Lt. Col. William Porter, 1st Cavalry Division’s surgeon.

Hosted by the 1st Cavalry Division’s surgeon section, the second conference was the second held at Fort Hood and was geared toward medical professionals with degrees.

Last year, the surgeon’s section hosted a conference focused on lessons learned from the unit’s previous deployment to Afghanistan.

“Ultimately we’re hoping it (the conference) will lead to lifesaving measures in bad situations,” Porter said.

The conference merged seasoned and newer health care professionals, affording them the opportunity to discuss topics that are important in austere environments.

Aside from gaining knowledge, medical officials also received continuing education credit for attending the conference. For every hour attended, medical personnel received one credit hour.

Army doctors and physician assistants require 50 credits per year. At the conclusion of the training, attendees had the potential to earn a total of 14 credits, Porter said.

Capt. Manuel Galaviz, the clinical officer-in-charge at Monroe Health Clinic, said one reason he attended the conference was because he felt it would be a good time to interact with other providers.

Training topics included military working dog care, deployed dental care, and behavioral health in a garrison and deployed environment.

“This training was a good refresher, especially here at Fort Hood, because we have a larger medical population than other installations,” Galaviz said.

Concluding the conference, attendees conducted medical evacuation operations and practiced loading and unloading simulated casualties.

Pfc. Mark Lewis, a combat medic assigned to 546th Area Support Medical Company, 61st Multifunctional Medical Battalion, 1st Medical Brigade, attended the conference with his fellow soldiers as part of the unit’s sergeant’s time training.

“This is especially essential, because we don’t do an exceptional amount of medical tasks,” Lewis said. “This ensures we stay up to date and ready if we are called upon to deploy.”

The 1st Cavalry Division surgeon’s office plans to host two conferences a year, with the next one occurring in April.

“I’m hopeful this collegial passage of knowledge will improve our readiness posture to respond to whatever mission the Army calls us to do,” Porter said.

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