Back to Top Skip to main content

AFMES missions continue through COVID-19

Two men sitting at a table going through sample bottles Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Edinmel Balterocruz (left) and Air Force Master Sgt. Jesson Pareja, both Armed Forces Medical Examiner System Forensic Toxicology laboratory technicians, accession samples for testing April 13, 2020. Balterocruz and Pareja and the Division of Forensic Toxicology continue to support national security and combatant commanders through timely and effective testing for the abuse of illicit drug threats. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nicole Leidholm)

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Medical Examiner System | Coronavirus

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. – The Armed Forces Medical Examiner System remains operational despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This has been a rapidly evolving situation in spite of the challenges we see with the stay-at-home order,” said U.S. Army Col. Louis Finelli, AFMES director. “The workload hasn’t changed, just the way we’re accomplishing the mission.”

AFMES is following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, State of Delaware and 436th Airlift Wing commander of social distancing and significantly reduced manning. The efforts are to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and to prioritize the health and safety of personnel.

“The organization conducted a critical mission analysis and determined the minimum number of employees required to accomplish the mission,” said Richard Gates, AFMES operations manager. “The footprint in the facility is at the absolute minimum and the majority of administrative work is covered by telework employees.”

Gates added, AFMES is a resilient organization that is committed to accomplishing the mission during the global pandemic.

In accordance with directives, AMFES began working in two-shifts to maintain operations, significantly reducing the number of employees in the facility to mission essential duties only.

“We have implemented a two-shift work environment that reduces the number of staff at work at any given time,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. David Sartori, AFMES Forensic Toxicology director. “We have found that we are more efficient in completing our tasks and will explorer this work schedule as a potential long-term process.”

The DoD DNA Operations section has also adjusted to the guidance, working with only 12 percent of staff on each shift. Although work load has remained the same, sample processing and casework turn-around times have been severely impacted.

“We had to adopt to the reduced staffing levels needed to protect our people as well as maintain mission operations for the AFMES, [Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency] and [military criminal investigative organizations] groups,” said Dr. Timothy McMahon, AFMES DoD DNA Operations director. “Due to DoD, State and Federal guidelines in regards to social distancing we are operating two 8-hour shifts and performing DNA testing for both the AFMES and the DPAA and assisting MCIO groups with priority criminal and missing persons casework and processing priority family reference samples to assist the DPAA with identifications.”

According to McMahon, the logistics of moving to a two-shift environment posed a challenge, with communication across the organization becoming paramount.

“I make sure that we are in constant contact with my employees so that they feel tied to the organization still and do not feel alone during this time,” said McMahon. “Communication has become key so that people understand what is going on and how we are protecting them while they are here at work.”

Even with the impacts of COVID-19, AFMES has persevered through the challenges in stride.

“It’s imperative that AFMES continues the mission during these trying times,” said Finelli. “I’m very proud of how AFMES has adjusted so quickly to our new routine.”

Disclaimer: Re-published content may be edited for length and clarity.  Read original post.

You also may be interested in...

Navy pharmacy techs support COVID-19 and MHS GENESIS efforts

Article
10/20/2020
Navy personnel in a pharmacy

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Aaron Souders is highlighted for his work as a Navy pharmacy technician.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS | Combat Support

Navy tele-health supports Guam civilian hospital during COVID-19

Article
10/19/2020
Woman sitting in front of several computer monitors

[T]his is the first-ever DoD tasking for telemedicine support in response to a request from civil authorities for aid.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Combat Support | Global Health Engagement

DoD COVID-19 Practice Management Guide Version 6

Technical Document
10/16/2020

This Practice Management Guide does not supersede DoD Policy. It is based upon the best information available at the time of publication. It is designed to provide information and assist decision making. It is not intended to define a standard of care and should not be construed as one. Neither should it be interpreted as prescribing an exclusive course of management. It was developed by experts in this field. Variations in practice will inevitably and appropriately occur when clinicians take into account the needs of individual patients, available resources, and limitations unique to an institution or type of practice. Every healthcare professional making use of this guideline is responsible for evaluating the appropriateness of applying it in the setting of any particular clinical situation. The Practice Management Guide is not intended to represent TRICARE policy. Further, inclusion of recommendations for specific testing and/or therapeutic interventions within this guide does not guarantee coverage of civilian sector care. Additional information on current TRICARE benefits may be found at www.tricare.mil or by contacting your regional TRICARE Managed Care Support Contractor.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Navy unit provided COVID-19 support to Peruvian First Responders

Article
10/16/2020
Fireman getting COVID test in firehouse garage

The province of Callao has the second highest number of COVID-19 cases in Peru.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement

COVID-19 Social Media Toolkit

Publication
10/16/2020

These messages are provided for you to use on your platforms with any of the images from the COVID-19 Toolkit.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

DHA Director outlines how MHS standardization bolsters reform

Article
10/15/2020
Two soldiers in masks, talking

How COVID-19 repositioned the best laid plans of the DoD.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Joint Health Information Exchange | MHS GENESIS | MHS Transformation

Annual flu vaccine remains a health priority during COVID-19 era

Article
10/13/2020
Military personnel getting flu shot

Annual vaccine is a covered TRICARE benefit.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Public Health | Coronavirus

Pilot DoD/VA hearing program virtually trains technicians

Article
10/9/2020
Military personnel sitting in front of laptop

HCE virtually trains hearing technicians during COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Hearing Loss

MHS Minute: Heroes Behind the Mask

Video
10/8/2020
Image of MHS Minute Carousel

In the face of a global threat, healthcare heroes across the MHS have donned their mask, and served on the front line of the battle against COVID-19. Tune in to this month's "MHS Minute" to learn more!

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

DHA priorities focused on readiness, patients, outcomes

Article
10/7/2020
Defense Health Agency Director Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place speaks at a podium.

Adaptation key to providing outstanding care to beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support | Access to Health Care | Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

‘I am Navy Medicine’ – helping another in need - Hospitalman Grace Pridmore of NMRTC Bremerton

Article
10/7/2020
Corpsman conviction of care, compassion and competence…Hospitalman Grace Pridmore, from Kellyville, Okla., assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Bremerton Detachment Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS), was acknowledged for her selfless effort by Capt. Shannon J. Johnson, NMRTC Bremerton commanding officer, for identifying another Sailor at risk and taking quick action to help get the Sailor to the appropriate level of care, very possibly saving a life (official Navy photo by Douglas H Stutz, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton public affairs officer).

It takes more than just awareness to respond to someone showing signs of distress.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Mental Health Care | Mental Wellness

Maintaining positive social media interactions during COVID-19

Article
10/2/2020
Image of soldier looking at his cell phone

Experts discuss good, bad of social media during pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Defense Health Agency celebrates seven years of service

Article
10/1/2020
Lt. Gen. Ronald Place holding a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery

Seven ways DHA has improved military readiness over the years.

Recommended Content:

Defense Health Agency | Coronavirus | MHS Transformation | Technology | Global Health Engagement | TRICARE Health Program | Total Force Fitness

Easy steps to understanding & thwarting depression during COVID-19

Article
9/30/2020
Five people sitting on yoga mats outside in the grass

Learning self-care strategies can help you take charge of your life and improve your mental and physical health.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Mental Health Care | Depression

Beale AFB clinic launches new EHR -- MHS GENESIS

Article
9/29/2020
Photo of Travis Callihan

This new EHR will provide a better level of care for all Department of Defense beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 of 22

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.