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.

AFHSD’s GEIS collect data worldwide to support force protection

Image of Medical personnel scanning forehead of soldier with thermometer. Kuhina Talimalie, 735th Air Mobility Squadron, uses a no-touch thermometer on a U.S. Air Force airman to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among service members and the public. (Photo by Air Force Tech Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.)

Throughout 2020, the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division and its Global Emerging Infections Surveillance branch continued to work with partners across the globe in their efforts to combat COVID-19 and protect military readiness. That work goes on even as vaccines for the disease have begun to be administered.

“We continue to fund worldwide respiratory pathogen surveillance studies and COVID-19-specific projects to understand the burden of disease and collect strains from infected cases across the globe,” said Navy Capt. Guillermo Pimentel, Global Emerging Infections Surveillance (GEIS) branch chief. These studies “allow the DOD to conduct advanced characterization of this novel coronavirus and support public health authorities of partner host nations.”

These efforts have allowed the Department of Defense to collect “critical information” for force health protection, and have allowed GEIS surveillance projects to reach approximately 80 countries, with its “principal strength being these partnerships with allies and demonstration of a field presence in key geographic locations of military relevance,” Pimentel added.

The data collected from surveillance studies are being used to “initiate, as well as to further adjust or modify, regional infectious disease protection guidance to maintain our forces ready to carry out their mission in each respective combatant command’s area of responsibility,” the GEIS chief said.

GEIS is also funding respiratory pathogen surveillance projects that provide data related to the burden of respiratory diseases to U.S and host nation militaries.

GEIS continues to fund COVID-19 genomic sequencing efforts from DOD service members and foreign nationals, Pimentel said. These sequencing efforts are at DOD labs in Cambodia, Thailand, Peru, and Kenya. By going outside the continental U.S., GEIS is better able to track the spread and impact in support of the combatant commands.

GEIS partners have sequenced more than 350 novel coronavirus isolates and have provided sequencing support to “multiple outbreaks in the Navy and Army,” he noted.

The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division and its branches also continue to monitor influenza and other major health events and outbreaks that are of military relevance. In connection with academic partners and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Integrated Biosurveillance Branch has a near real-time mapping application called the Health Surveillance Explorer that can be used to better respond to seasonal or pandemic influenza viruses, “estimate their impact on the readiness of the force, plan personnel requirements and implement interventions,” said IBB Chief Juan Ubiera.

GEIS’s military partners in its sequencing and tracking efforts are the Army (Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases), Navy (Navy Medical Research Center, Naval Health Research Center) and Air Force (U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine).

One partner from USAFSAM, Dr. Anthony Fries, a bioinformaticist from the Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing at Wright-Patterson, Ohio, said the AFRL continues to increase the sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 viruses “to assess what viral diversity is circulating in our service members.” Fries noted his lab has sequenced more than 800 patients with COVID-19.

“While the impact and optimism surrounding vaccines cannot be overstated…we are positioning our sequencing activities to see how this virus responds to a population that will soon have robust protection to it from these new vaccines,” Fries said. “From an evolutionary perspective, we’re hoping that this virus’s limited ability to diversify itself could restrict its ability to avoid our efforts to stop it with the new vaccines.”

Air Force Maj. (Dr.) Jameson Voss, chief, Air Force Medical Service Precision Medicine, Air Force Medical Readiness Agency, added: “We need to understand the genetic changes in the virus to ensure diagnostic, vaccine, and other countermeasures are still working.”

You also may be interested in...

Article Around MHS
Jun 28, 2023

88th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron Focused on ‘Fit to Fight’ Force

Brenda Couch watches over U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Ron Sparkman, a student at the 155th medical group with the Nebraska National Guard, as he checks vitals on an airman during training at Wright-Patterson Medical Center on June 13. Operational Medical Readiness Squadron was this month’s pick for “Dominate the Dirty Work,” a series of stories offering an in depth look at the hard working and dedicated individuals that often go unseen. (Photo: Kenneth J. Stiles, U.S. Air Force)

The 88th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron provides direct support to U.S. Air Force operations by promoting and sustaining force health, preventing injury and illness, restoring health, and elevating human performance. Its top priority is ensuring airmen and military members are medically ready to execute their missions at home-base and deployed ...

Article Around MHS
Jun 22, 2023

Marine Forces Special Operations Command and the Influence of Global Health Engagement

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. (Ret.) Thomas Cullison, former deputy surgeon general, U.S. Navy, teaches fundamentals of global health engagement to a class

Since its inception, Marine Forces Special Operations Command prioritized missions such as foreign Internal defense. The command places a Marine Special Operations Company in a country and work with local partner forces to exchange ideas and practices. These efforts intent to and increase their ability to work independently to increase national and ...

Article Around MHS
Jun 15, 2023

24 Nations Unite at Military Nursing Exchange to Enhance USAFE-AFAFRICA Partnerships, Readiness

Polish Air Force Medic, 1st Lt. Marzena Dudaryk, administers Tactical Combat Casualty Care during a simulation session at the U.S Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa European-African Military Nurses Exchange Conference on May 31, 2023.

Nurses and medical professionals from 24 allied and partner nations, including the U.S., converged at the U.S. Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa 2023 European-African Military Nursing Exchange conference, May 31 – June 2, to share medical knowledge and professional best practices with one another.

Article Around MHS
Jun 8, 2023

National Guard Provides Medical Treatment to Tribes in Idaho, Nevada

Approximately 100 citizen-soldiers and airmen from Arizona, Idaho, Minnesota, and Nevada National Guard provided care for two Native American tribes in Idaho and Nevada as part of Operation Nimiipuu Health, a Department of Defense Innovative Readiness Training program. Members of the National Guard provided medical, dental, and optometry services to the Nez Perce Tribe and surrounding community of Lapwai, Idaho, May 16-18.  (Photo by U.S. National Guard Master Sgt. Becky Vanshur)

Members of the National Guard provided medical, dental, and optometry services to the Nez Perce Tribe and surrounding community of Lapwai, Idaho, May 16-18. The unit also provided behavioral health services to members of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes and the surrounding community of Duck Valley, Nevada May 22-25.

Article Around MHS
Jun 2, 2023

Operationalizing Army Medicine in the Pacific

U.S. Army Maj. Nekkeya McGee, a clinical operations blood operations consultant with the 18th Medical Command, discusses medical logistics with a Land Forces Pacific Symposium and Exposition 2023 attendee in Honolulu, Hawaii, on May 16, 2023. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Hughes)

More than 2,000 senior U.S. Army leaders, military allies and partners, government representatives, and industry partners participated in the Association of the United States Army’s Land Forces Pacific Symposium and Exposition 2023. A major theme was operationalizing the National Defense Strategy.

Article Around MHS
May 31, 2023

Transformed U.S. Army Pharmacy Readiness Training Course Enhances Force Sustainment for Future Combat Operations

U.S. Army Capt Lauren Kaminski of Evans Army Community Hospital, Fort Carson and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Rosalinda Bermea-Arriaga from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, log controlled substance medications in the pharmacy at the training field hospital at Camp Bullis, Texas. Proper management of controlled substances is vital to the safety, security, and legal compliance of our forces. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Army pharmacists and pharmacy specialists from across the country traveled to Camp Bullis, Texas, this week to participate in a 40-hour deployment readiness course hosted by the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence. The course is designed to prepare personnel to provide efficient pharmaceutical in an austere, multi-domain, large-scale operating ...

Article Around MHS
May 30, 2023

Navy Expeditionary Medical Unit Rotations Provide Ongoing Support in the Middle East

U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Freeman Morrison, a biomedical technician, left, and U.S. Navy Lt. j. g. Andrew Mappus, an emergency room nurse, right, assigned to Navy Expeditionary Medical Unit 10- Gulf, Rotation 13, are monitoring an U.S. Army Medic Task Force Buckeye, 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, as he draws blood from an soldier on Dec. 20. (Photo by U.S. Navy Capt. Jerrol Walla)

The 30-member team conducted enhanced shore-based activities at Erbil Air Base in Iraq, where they provided life, limb, and eyesight-saving care to the U.S. armed forces, Department of Defense, civilian contractors, and multi-national coalition forces. They also provided critical support to facilities in the Eastern Syria Security Area.

Article Around MHS
May 11, 2023

USAMMDA Team Equips a Worldwide Force

Leaders with the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity and Regional Training Site-Medical stand for a group photo during a hospital conversion fielding at Fort Gordon, Georgia, on March 7. USAMMDA’s Force Sustainment Directorate, which worked for more than a year to coordinate the hospital center shipment, is responsible for the wholesale procurement, production, fielding, sustainment, and recovery of medical sets, kits, and outfits.  (Photo by Rick Bower, U.S. Army)

In the multi-domain battlefields of today and tomorrow, the U.S. Army’s supply priorities include more than the food, weapons, and cotton gauzes that have sustained American warfighters during past wars. A select team with the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity—the U.S. Army’s premier medical development command—work each day to field the ...

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