Skip main navigation

Military Health System

Clear Your Browser Cache

This website has recently undergone changes. Users finding unexpected concerns may care to clear their browser's cache to ensure a seamless experience.

How the military stays ready during disease outbreaks

Image of Headshot of Dr. Sanchez. Dr. Toti Sanchez is a senior scientist and deputy chief at Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch

A Q & A with Dr. Jose L. (Toti) Sanchez, Senior Scientist & Deputy Chief, AFHSB


What is your focus area?

A major component of my work is to ensure that major health surveillance program plans and initiatives are current and reflect alignment with the Defense Health Agency’s Strategic Plan. Under the guidance of AFHSB’s Chief, I also help to build strong scientific and collaborative relationships within the Public Health Directorate.

How do you monitor disease outbreaks?

I spend a significant amount of time monitoring the many peer-reviewed, governmental and international association reports. I also analyze the disease outbreak reports and coordinate data gathering and report generation from AFHSB’s Global Emerging Infections Surveillance, Epidemiology and Analysis), and Integrated Biosurveillance  sections.

In my role as Senior Scientist at AFHSB, I serve on the Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program Operational Steering Committee, a “think-tank” committee of experts who provide guidance on military-relevant research efforts in support of the U.S. military’s force health protection needs. I also work as an instructor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. I ensure students and residents in public health learn the basic skills of outbreak investigation, associated surveillance, and research initiatives.

How do you support AFHSB's response to COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an immense workload on our AFHSB staff to produce analyses and reports for DHA leadership, senior DOD officials, the Secretary of Defense, and respond to questions from Congressional officials. In my role as Deputy Chief, AFHSB, I ensure that reports, documents and COVID-19 related policy reviews are accurate and produced in a timely fashion from AFHSB’s three sections. Since February 2020, I’ve reviewed and provided input to nearly 70 executive summaries , several information and position papers, and at least 20 weekly surveillance summaries addressing COVID-19 issues.

Where have you traveled in this role?

My travel is mainly limited to the National Capital Region. I’ve participated in tabletop drills such as an interagency simulation for Crimson Contagion, a response to a severe influenza pandemic. I’ve also served as a representative to the Defense Health Board to evaluate health surveillance matters such as COVID-19 and respiratory infections in support of DHA’s Combat Support Agency mission.

You also may be interested in...

Fact Sheet
Mar 24, 2020

Elective Surgery and Procedures Q & A

.PDF | 42.83 KB

Today, the Department issued guidance directing that all Military Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs) and Dental Treatment Facilities (DTFs) postpone all elective surgeries, invasive procedures, and dental procedures as of March 31, 2020 for 60 days. This Fact Sheet answers commonly asked questions about that guidance.

Fact Sheet
May 12, 2017

The Defense Medical Epidemiology Database System Overview Fact Sheet

.PDF | 224.93 KB

This fact sheet provides a system overview of the Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED). DMED is a web-based tool to remotely query de-identified active component personnel and medical event data contained within the Defense Medical Surveillance System (DMSS). Learn about the newly released version of DMED and its key features in this document.

Fact Sheet
Mar 30, 2017

Rhabdomyolysis by Location, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012-2016 Fact Sheet

.PDF | 313.80 KB

This fact sheet provides details on Rhabdomyolysis by location for active component, U.S. Armed Forces during a five-year surveillance period from 2012 through 2016. The medical treatment facilities at nine installations diagnosed at least 50 cases each and, together approximately half (49.9%) of all diagnosed cases.

Fact Sheet
Mar 30, 2017

Demographic and Military Traits of Service Members Diagnosed as Traumatic Brain Injury Cases

.PDF | 283.00 KB

This fact sheet provides details on the demographic and military traits of service members diagnosed as traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases during a 16-year surveillance period from 2001 through 2016, a total of 276,858 active component service members received first-time diagnoses of TBI - a structural alteration of the brain or physiological ...

Fact Sheet
Mar 30, 2017

Heat Illnesses by Location, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2012-2016 Fact Sheet

.PDF | 267.04 KB

This fact sheet provides details on heat illnesses by location during a five-year surveillance period from 2012 through 2016. 11,967 heat-related illnesses were diagnosed at more than 250 military installations and geographic locations worldwide. Three Army Installations accounted for close to one-third of all heat illnesses during the period.

Skip subpage navigation
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 11, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery