Navy Medical Corps: Celebrating 145 years of Greatness and Impact on Global Health

By Cmdr.Carlos D. Williams, director, Navy Medicine Office of Global Health Engagement

CARAT Thailand 2011
The U.S. Navy began its long and time-honored history in global health outreach in 1898.

As we celebrate Navy Medical Corps 145th birthday, the Office of Global Health Engagement (GHEO) proudly reflects on the deep history and significant impact the Navy Medical Corps has in the global health arena.

From their current presence aboard hospital ships USNS  Comfort and Mercy, where the Medical Corps provides humanitarian and disaster relief services to international partners in need … to caring for Navy families stationed abroad … to serving submariners serving in the depths of our oceans and naval aviators who touch the sky, Medical Corps personnel provide quality patient care wherever and whenever it is needed.

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On board hospital ships, such as USNS Comfort, the Medical Corps provides humanitarian and disaster relief services to international partners in need

The U.S. Navy began its long and time-honored history in global health outreach in 1898, at the end of the Spanish American War, when the United States military emerged as a global military power. In the early 20th century, as our nation’s military presence increased in countries such as American Samoa, Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Territory of Hawaii, among others, these new ports presented a whole new array of endemic tropical diseases that threatened the lives of countless military personnel. Suddenly, Navy physicians—the Medical Corps, Navy Nurses and hospital corpsman were waging a new kind of war combatting a variety of diseases that carried devastating effects. [1]

In more recent times, Navy Medicine has expanded its role in global health engagement. The Medical Corps works in concert with other critical Navy Medicine corps —the Medical Services Corps, the Nurse Corps, the Dental Corps and the Hospital Corps, as well as many other organizations around the world—creating a partnership unlike any other, one that offers health care services and support to the farthest reaches of the globe, positively affecting the lives of millions.

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The Medical Corps works in concert with many organizations around the world—creating a partnership unlike any other, one that offers health care services and support to the farthest reaches of the globe, positively affecting the lives of millions.

Over the past decade the Medical Corps, in partnership with our sister corps, has provided clinical-care and medical-recovery operations across the globe, responding to natural disasters such as the tsunami that wiped out Bande Ache, Indonesia; quickly deploying to support victims of the Haiti earthquake; and fostering enduring partnerships with host nations in Central and South America and in the Pacific during Continuing Promise and Pacific Partnership exercises.

Medical Corps health affairs advisors in Papua New Guinea, the South Pacific and Vietnam are working with host-nation ministries of health, exemplifying the whole-of-government approach toward global health. Navy Medicine’s research labs—with Medical Corps, Medical Service Corps, Nurse Corps and Dental Corps all standing side by side on the front lines—are perhaps the truest examples of global health, researching and fighting against tropical and emerging infectious diseases to protect our service members and ensure force health protection. Navy Medicine’s liaison officers, whether at the Uniformed Services University supporting professional education or at the Center for Disease Control, supporting the fight against Ebola and Zika Virus, to ensure protection of the American people and readiness of our forces.

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Medical Corps personnel provide quality patient care wherever and whenever it is needed.

The Navy Medical Corps consists of outstanding personnel with superior medical expertise, compassion and a willingness to do whatever necessary to ensure quality health care services are delivered when and where they are needed most, and the GHEO is grateful for all you do.

Navy Medicine GHEO salutes you on your 145th birthday! We are honored to partner with you and to work side by side around the globe for the greater good.

For more information about the U.S. Navy Medical Corps, a GHEO partner, go to Navy Medicine and click on the Navy Healthcare Careers and Corps tab.

[1] http://navymedicine.navylive.dodlive.mil/archives/3881