Navy Medicine highlights strategic priorities

Vice Adm. Matthew L. Nathan, U.S. Navy Surgeon General

This month, I would like to focus on Navy Medicine’s strategic priorities and highlight the release of our strategic map and the course our Navy Medicine leaders have collectively charted for the upcoming year.

We live in dynamic times. In order to navigate the upcoming tasks and challenges ahead, we must continue to maintain the highest state of medical readiness for our naval forces, while bringing more value and jointness to our operations.  So, it should not come as a surprise that we have focused our three goals around these missions. 

So, let’s discuss why these goals are important to us and should be important to each of you as members of the Navy Medicine team.

Navy Medicine is in the readiness business. We have to be agile, forward-leaning and ready to deploy in support of the warfighter and similarly we have to work to ensure that our warfighters are equally prepared. Each of you, in some capacity, lends yourself to the readiness mission. It’s what we do and why we exist. Whether you are an independent duty corpsman serving in a submarine, a flight surgeon serving our naval aviators, deployed medical staff or a Navy corpsman embedded with the Marines, you provide adaptable capabilities globally across the range of military operations in support of the national defense strategy.

We next aim to achieve value in everything we do. When we transition from focusing on health care and start focusing on the overall health of our patients, meaning focusing on preventive medicine treatments like tobacco cessation programs or health and nutrition vice solely treating symptoms, we not only improve their readiness and quality of life, but also get more so-called “bang for our buck” because healthier beneficiaries drive down overall costs associated with care. I am sure many of you have noticed the improvements in the care you receive from your Medical Home Port team, with less wait time, more access, and greater communication with your health care providers. Over the next year, we are looking to build on these initial successes and improve the standardization of care that will improve patient experience and create a more efficient, responsive care structure. 

The third goal I want to discuss with you is jointness. There are increasingly more and more opportunities to work together with our sister Services, the Veterans Administration, and academic partners.  Whether we are working together in a research lab to develop a new vaccine or on a mission to MEDEVAC a patient off the battlefield,  joint operations are undoubtedly a huge part of our future in the military and we all need to embrace these opportunities to learn from one another and leverage best practices from every source.  We will build on each other’s strengths, learn other cultures, and also preserve those qualities,  traditions, and skill sets that are uniquely Navy Medicine. 

The Medical Education and Training Campus (METC) in San Antonio, Texas, is a prime example of the kind of joint environment where Navy Medicine’s goals of readiness, value, and jointness are exemplified. In my visit to the joint medical facility, I was impressed by the great work that is done there. The program ensures through education and training that our service members are ready to deploy and accomplish the mission of Navy Medicine. The value that the training brings to the overall health of the service member and their families is unmatched.  Additionally, it is through a joint curriculum at METC that we create value by reducing redundancies in training costs while still teaching our corpsmen and medics the life-saving skills in a collaborative environment that has led to a 97 percent survivability rate on the battlefield. This is truly remarkable. 

As we set out on this next year, with a new charted course, we will need enablers to help keep us on our set path. We look to medical informatics, the use of telemedicine solutions, and technology; as well as standardizing clinical, non-clinical and business practices; and improving strategic communication and message alignment to accomplish these goals. I have the utmost faith that through your hard work, dedication, and collaboration, we can achieve these goals.

As always, I am honored and proud to serve as your Surgeon General.

Navy Medicine’s complete mission and vision including the strategy map and accompanying documents is available online at: http://www.med.navy.mil/Pages/MissionandVision.aspx.