Skip to main content

Military Health System

Important Notice about Pharmacy Operations

Change Healthcare Cyberattack Impact on MHS Pharmacy Operations. Read the statement to learn more. 

Air Force updates medical courses with COVID-19 content, procedures

Image of Two technicians in full PPE in a lab. Staff Sgt. Alexis Shodeke (left) and Renee Mayhon, both medical laboratory technicians in the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine’s Epidemiology Laboratory, prepare to load new samples in June 2020 onto the Roche 8800 for COVID polymerise chain reaction testing. The Epi Lab is the sole clinical reference lab in the Air Force, and USAFSAM is part of AFRL’s 711th Human Performance Wing headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. (U.S. Air Force photo by Richard Eldridge)

Air Force medical instructors and trainers are improving curriculum and adapting procedures to account for COVID-19 operations.

COVID-19 has shed new light on the methods of conducting medical training and education. The U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, in the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, conducts mission-essential courses while also delivering a medical force able to accomplish every assigned mission.

“This pandemic has pushed medical readiness to the forefront,” said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jason Herndon, School of Aerospace Medicine Office of the Dean Superintendent. “USAFSAM continues to innovate to improve our medical capabilities at home and on the battlefield.”

Training programs across the School of Aerospace Medicine are advancing their infectious disease and control training by incorporating lessons learned from the ongoing COVID-19 response, specifically in training Airmen to care for patients during aeromedical evacuations using the Negatively Pressurized Conex.

“We are bringing experiences from those who have been part of the COVID-19 response to inform and improve our training in infectious disease response,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Elizabeth Schnaubelt, Center for Sustainment of Trauma Readiness Skills, Omaha, Nebraska. “Tech Sergeant Victor Kipping-Cordoba, C-STARS Omaha public health non-commissioned officer in charge, and I have both been involved in training Airmen on the Negatively Pressurized Conex, equipping our medical Airmen with the skills needed to safely move and care for patients with COVID-19. We are also developing a separate course on high-level disease containment transport.”

The School of Aerospace Medicine’s C-STARS Omaha program, which focuses on training infectious disease medics on highly hazardous communicable diseases, is also using their COVID-19 patient care experience in upcoming courses.

“Our biocontainment care course, for example, has largely been focused on Ebola and other highly pathogenic respiratory viruses,” explains Schnaubelt. “Because of our partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, we have been involved with their COVID-19 response, providing care to patients in our biocontainment and COVID-19 units. This experience will further enhance our curriculum.”

The C-STARS Omaha team has been involved in COVID-19 response since before it was categorized as a pandemic. They helped in the repatriation efforts of U.S. citizens arriving from China and the evacuation of citizens from a cruise ship.

“Being involved early in the planning, execution and care of COVID-19 patients has advanced our efforts in our current training and will continue to inform future training,” said Schnaubelt.

Additionally, COVID-19 has impacted how courses are taught to minimize risk of COVID-19 while also ensuring medical Airmen receive the necessary training to be fully qualified. USAFSAM’s entire course list was reviewed to determine which courses could be moved online.

“COVID-19 has changed the way we can operate with more classes moving online,” said Herndon. “We have reduced the number of in-person courses offered, and courses, like USAFSAM’s basic instructor course, are being offered online to keep Airmen safe.”

For courses that still have to meet in person, the School of Aerospace Medicine’s team has gone to extraordinary means to ensure the safety of both their staff and students. In addition to adapting to federal and state guidance, they have implemented strict physical distancing measures in the classrooms, ensured the wearing of face coverings, and enforced wellness checks.

“There are some courses, like our Flight Nurse and Aeromedical Evacuation Technician course, as well as our Critical Care Air Transport Team course, that do not work as an online course,” explained Elizabeth Miller, School of Aerospace Medicine En Route Care Training Department deputy director. “To keep Airmen in these courses safe, they are required to wear personal protective equipment, like masks, eyewear and gloves, when they are taking part in those simulations.”

As Herndon explains, COVID-19 has pushed instructors and trainers to be more innovative.

“The ongoing pandemic has forced us to change our line of thinking and how we prepare our medics,” said Herndon. “Before COVID-19, Air Force Lt. Gen. Dorothy Hogg, Air Force Surgeon General, would say that we should think as if the box never existed, versus thinking outside the box. I believe that has never been truer than now as we train our medical force for this new normal. USAFSAM remains committed in their effort to continue its education mission despite a global pandemic.”

You also may be interested in...

Report
May 31, 2011

Indications and Conditions for In-Theater Post-Injury Neurocognitive Assessment Tool (NCAT) Testing

.PDF | 251.87 KB

In accordance with Section 1673 of the NDAA HR 4986, signed into law in January of 2008, the Secretary of Defense was instructed to establish a protocol for the pre-deployment assessment and documentation of the cognitive functioning of Service Members deployed outside the United States.

Report
Jan 1, 2011

MSMR Vol. 18 No. 11 - November 2011

.PDF | 393.78 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Norovirus outbreak associated with person-to-person transmission, U.S. Air Force Academy, July 2011; Notice to readers: Department of Defense laboratory capabilities for testing for norovirus infection; ...

Report
Jan 1, 2011

MSMR Vol. 18 No. 12 - December 2011

.PDF | 321.96 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Brief report: Births, active component, 2001-2010; Brief report: Numbers and characteristics of women in the active component, U.S. Armed Forces; Complications and care related to pregnancy, labor and delivery, ...

Report
Jan 1, 2011

MSMR Vol. 18 No. 7 - July 2011

.PDF | 878.92 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Associations between repeated deployments to OEF/OIF/OND, October 2001-December 2010, and post-deployment illnesses and injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces; Carpal tunnel syndrome, active component, U ...

Report
Jan 1, 2011

MSMR Vol. 18 No. 1 - January 2011

.PDF | 711.60 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Malaria, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010; Diagnoses of overweight/obesity, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2010; Multiple sclerosis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000-2009; Notices to Readers.

Report
Jan 1, 2011

MSMR Vol. 18 No. 3 - March 2011

.PDF | 830.95 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Motorcycle and other motor vehicle accident-related deaths, U.S. Armed Forces, 1999-2010; Update: Heat injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010; Update: Exertional rhabdomyolysis, active component, U ...

Report
Jan 1, 2011

MSMR Vol. 18 No. 10 - October 2011

.PDF | 343.07 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Relationships between increasing outpatient encounters for neurological disorders and introductions of associated diagnostic codes, active duty military service members, 1998-2010; Alcohol-related diagnoses, ...

Report
Jan 1, 2011

MSMR Vol. 18 No. 2 - February 2011

.PDF | 818.25 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Causes of medical evacuations from Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF), New Dawn (OND) and Enduring Freedom (OEF), active and reserve components, U.S. Armed Forces, October 2001-September 2010; Cruciate ligament ...

Report
Jan 1, 2011

MSMR Vol. 18 No. 6 - June 2011

.PDF | 843.84 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Duration of service after overweight-related diagnoses, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2010; Noise-induced hearing injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007-2010; Acute gastroenteritis ...

Report
Jan 1, 2011

MSMR Vol. 18 No. 8 - August 2011

.PDF | 336.56 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Updates: Routine screening for antibodies to HIV-1, civilian applicants for U.S. military service and U.S. Armed Forces, active and reserve components; Surveillance Snapshot: Service members with hepatitis B, ...

Report
Jan 1, 2011

MSMR Vol. 18 No. 5 - May 2011

.PDF | 842.10 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Eye injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000-2010; Stress fractures, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2004-2010; Trends in emergency medical and urgent care visits, active component, U.S. Armed ...

Report
Jan 1, 2011

MSMR Vol. 18 No. 9 - September 2011

.PDF | 306.33 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Associations between repeated deployments to Iraq (OIF/OND) and Afghanistan (OEF) and post-deployment illnesses and injuries, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2003-2010. Part II. Mental disorders, by gender ...

Report
Jan 1, 2011

MSMR Vol. 18 No. 4 - April 2011

.PDF | 1.01 MB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Absolute and relative morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010; Hospitalizations among members of the active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2010; Ambulatory ...

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