Collaboration, Partnership at Forefront of Military Medical Partnership Days
The third annual Military Medicine Partnership Conference and Expo, also referred to as Military Medicine Partnership Days, kicked off Tuesday, March 7, at Turf Valley Conference Center in Ellicott City, Maryland. Co-sponsored by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and the National Defense Industrial Association, approximately over 300 military, academia and industry representatives gathered at this year's event.
With a clear focus on collaboration and partnership, this annual event serves as a premier networking opportunity for both science and industry representatives to come together to learn more about Department of Defense medical research, development, test and evaluation missions, programs and gap areas.
"Working with the NDIA, we came up with an idea," opened USAMRMC Principal Assistant for Acquisition Dr. Kenneth Bertram. "The idea was pretty simple: Let's bring government and industry and academia together in one place for a period of time where we can have one-on-one discussions; where we can actually tell you and discuss what it is we need and why, and an opportunity for us to do something the government isn't really known for doing very well, and that's listening. So, in those one-on-one discussions, we have the opportunity to listen to your ideas, we have the opportunity to respond to you and to communicate more clearly as to what it is we need."
Attendees these past three years have been afforded a unique and exciting opportunity to have face-to-face, one-on-one interaction with real military medical research experts; an opportunity to be taken advantage of.
"We've brought the 'power hitters' to you to give you the opportunity to talk with, so take advantage," emphasized Bertram. "That's why we're here, to have those conversations."
"We really look forward to the opportunity of these meetings to interact with you and let you know what's driving us and to hear about what concepts and ideas you have," added Dr. George Ludwig, USAMRMC principal assistant for research and technology. "It really helps drive the research and development efforts that we have at the USAMRMC."
Anticipating how future battles will be waged and preparing our service men and women to fight in the future is an ever-present challenge, and as concepts evolve, the paradigm for how the U.S. Army operates medically is changing.
"This is a great opportunity at this particular meeting to hear more about where we think we need to be medically so that you can begin to assist us in getting there, because we can't get there without partnerships and collaborations and opportunities to work together," stressed Ludwig. "Without a venue like this where we can interact together to provide that type of information, it's going to hurt the effectiveness of our ability to move forward in that area."
As new concepts of how the military is going to operate in the future arise, collaboration of the entire research and development community in working to reach those goals is paramount.
USAMRMC and Fort Detrick Commanding General Maj. Gen. Barbara R. Holcomb followed Bertram and Ludwig with opening remarks, emphasizing as well the importance of partnering opportunities like the MMPD in support of the Warfighter.
"Our collaboration with the NDIA is an example of how partnering helps us to fulfill our missions and to protect the health and wellbeing of our Warfighter," said Holcomb. "Our relationship with our partners in academia and industry, with you, is crucial to our lifecycle process. We work with you to leverage your knowledge and expertise to solve complex challenges in military medicine. Your critical skills and expertise help us to create military-relevant medical solutions, and our robust resources help you achieve success in return."
Holcomb continued, "Over the next two days you will hear about the information and resources that you need to partner with us. You will hear from experts inside and outside of the USAMRMC as well as organizations that have successfully partnered with us. You will also have the opportunity to meet with USAMRMC specialists to ask questions about funding opportunities, small business initiatives and contracting."
The bottom line: "We can't do this alone," emphasized Holcomb. "This meeting and your participation in it is how we are able to protect and treat our Nation's most treasured resource: the men and women of our armed forces."
This year's keynote speaker was The Honorable John M. McHugh, former Secretary of the Army and current government affairs counselor at the K&L Gates Washington, D.C., office.
McHugh called the MMPD an "invaluable forum" and "a great opportunity for science and industry representatives to learn more about the research and development programs, the opportunities and to better understand the complexities of military medicine."
"The purpose of this kind of get together is to help you cut through the frustration," continued McHugh," to help you find better ways, more direct ways, to do business with the United States military and the USAMRMC in particular."
"We hear a lot of talk particularly in Washington, D.C., about innovation these days as it is so much in our lives," said McHugh. "It's one thing to talk about it, but it's another thing to actually try to take the risk to create it. I don't think it's too far a stretch to say that those of you who are here today are not just talking about innovation; you're hoping and working to bring solutions to some of those daunting challenges facing our military medical community. In short, your amongst the few who are walking the walk and unafraid to challenge the status quo. You're working each and every day to make a difference."
The first day of the conference also included three separate roundtable/panel discussions - focusing clinical rehabilitative medicine, innovation and regional resources for business -- as well as a presentation from Col. Sidney Hinds, USAMRMC DOD brain health research coordinator, on Blast-Induced Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Current State of the Science.
Photos from this year's Military Medicine Partnership Conference and Expo are available on the USAMRMC Flickr website, album:https://www.flickr.com/photos/usamrmc/sets/72157677698927914/with/32515412243/.