Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

DOD's Whole of Government Approach to COVID is Working, Says Adirim

Dr. Terry Adirim, acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, right, speaks during a panel discussion. Dr. Terry Adirim, acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, right, speaks during a panel discussion as part of the opening keynote for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society 2021 annual conference at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas, August 8. (MHS photo by Jacob Moore)

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Technology | Telehealth Program | Military Health System Transformation

During the opening keynote at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s annual conference, Dr. Terry Adirim, acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, explained how she has been extremely impressed by the Department of Defense’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic since taking over her current role. She also detailed how adaptation and innovation have played key parts in that response.

The panel, entitled “Preserving the Health of a Population – Early Lessons from a Global Pandemic,” was hosted by Hal Wolf, HIMSS president and chief executive officer, and included Adirim, Dr. Ran Balicer, chief innovation officer for Israel’s Clalit Health Services; Dr. Patrice Harris, CEO and co-founder of eMed; and Dr. Hans Henri Kluge, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe.

“I was very impressed when I came in in January with all of the work that the department has done. It really took a whole of government approach and that was very much emphasized by Secretary (of Defense, Lloyd) Austin,” Adirim said. “He really supported all aspects and sectors in doing that, as well as taking care of our service members and beneficiaries.”

Adirim explained how she was also impressed with how “thoughtful,” the DOD’s Force Health Protection Guidance was regarding COVID, although emerging variants such as Delta may necessitate a shift in the department’s approach.

“Even pre-vaccination, we were able to protect our force and they were able to complete their mission,” she said. “I think Delta has thrown a wrench in that a little bit, but I think overall, the Department of Defense has, and continues to do, a pretty good job.”

Adirim said the early lessons learned should be catalysts for change within DOD healthcare.

“We need to take what we’ve done during the pandemic – and those things that are working, document that for going forward,” she said.

With the changing nature of the virus, and new information becoming available daily, she said flexibility and change are essential to the DOD’s mission.

“Our healthcare system has been fairly nimble when it comes to re-looking at how we do things and when it comes to completing our missions, especially our national security mission,” said Adirim. “We’ve had to adapt and change. It was hard, but when people see that it’s working, we’ll continue to do those things going forward.”

Change includes looking at an issue and adapting to the current environment. She spoke specifically about addressing children’s mental health citing that, of the Military Health System’s 9.6 million beneficiaries, a significant portion are children of service members who have to deal with the anxiety that can go along with frequent moves, changing schools, etc.

“We’ve been leveraging technology and we’ve greatly expanded tele-behavioral health,” Adirim said. “Necessity is the mother of invention. The pandemic hit and we made sure we expanded that, so our families could have better access to mental health services.”

Adirim also spoke about the innovation that has taken place within the DOD. Just one example was using 3D printing for protective items such as face shields to overcome supply chain issues and equipment shortages that presented themselves early in the pandemic.

“I think using technology for even the more mundane things would help us be more well-prepared,” she said

You also may be interested in...

Since 9/11, These 8 Military Medical Advancements are Saving Lives

Article
9/14/2021
Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Derek Weida jokes with a physician during his prosthetic leg fitting at a prosthetics clinic in Las Vegas in April 2018.

Years of military conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan brought innovations that completely transformed the Military Health System's approach to combat casualty care. Here's a list of just a few ways military medicine has evolved in the two decades since the 9/11 attacks.

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Technology | 20th Anniversary of 9/11: Call-to-Action

Army Medicine Europe Provides Additional COVID Vaccinations for Immune Compromised

Article Around MHS
9/13/2021
Franz Dietrich, a German local national assigned to Training Support Activity Europe, receives a COVID-19 vaccination at the 7th Army Training Command's (7ATC) Rose Barracks, Vilseck, Germany, May 4, 2021. The U.S. Army Health Clinics at Grafenwoehr and Vilseck conducted a "One Community" COVID-19 vaccine drive May 3-7 to provide thousands of appointments to the 7ATC community of Soldiers, spouses, Department of the Army civilians, veterans and local nationals employed by the U.S. Army. (U.S. Army photo by Markus Rauchenberger)

Army medical treatment facilities in Europe are now offering an additional dose of COVID vaccine for immune compromised beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Defense Health Agency Formally Establishes Low Country Medical Market

Article
9/3/2021
Military personnel uncasing the DHA Low Country Market colors

The Low Country Market was introduced Sept. 2 in an establishment ceremony hosted by the Defense Health Agency (DHA) and Winn Army Community Hospital.

Recommended Content:

Military Health System Transformation | Market Structure

Federal leaders highlight electronic health record changes at HIMSS

Article
8/31/2021
Federal leaders being interviewed

The new Federal electronic health record delivers data to healthcare teams wherever a patient receives treatment.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization (FEHRM) Program Office | MHS GENESIS

COVID-19 Booster Shots

Infographic
8/27/2021
If you have an immune system that is moderately to severely compromised, the CDC recommends you may receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). This would be at least 4 weeks after your second dose.

If you have an immune system that is moderately to severely compromised, the CDC recommends you may receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). This would be at least 4 weeks after your second dose.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Vaccine Eligibility | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Secretary of Defense Mandates COVID-19 Vaccinations for Service Members

Article
8/26/2021
An Army medic administers the COVID-19 vaccine to another soldier.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III yesterday issued a memorandum directing mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for service members.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DOD Intends to Mandate Pfizer Vaccine, Pentagon Official Says

Article
8/25/2021
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby holds a press briefing, at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Kirby said the health of DOD's military and civilian employees, families and communities is a top priority.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

New Flag and Patch Symbolize Growth at the Defense Health Agency

Article
8/19/2021
Service members from the Army, Air Force and Navy display the new Defense Health Agency patch following a reflagging and repatching ceremony at Defense Health Agency Headquarters in Falls Church.

The DHA will reveal a new flag and seal in a ceremony August 20 to signify the unity of all services under one joint combat support agency.

Recommended Content:

Defense Health Agency | Military Health System Transformation | Combat Support

Ready Reliable Care Framework is Improving MHS Patient Care

Article
8/18/2021
Ready Reliable Care is the Military Health System's framework for ensuring high-quality health care across the force.

The Military Health System's Ready Reliable Care framework helps ensure high-quality health care for all service members, veterans and their families.

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Technology | Readiness Capabilities | Ready Reliable Care | MHS GENESIS

LTG Place on Vaccine Importance

Video
8/17/2021
LTG Place on Vaccine Importance

LTG Place presents his concerns over those who are still unvaccinated during these unprecedented times. Take the right steps to prevent tragedy befalling your family and schedule your vaccine today at https://tricare.mil/vaccineappointments.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Reform, COVID-19 Have Been Catalysts for Change in Military Medicine

Article
8/16/2021
Dr. Terry Adirim speaking to an audience at a conference

Healthcare is about taking care of people, so no amount of change or innovation is ever sufficient if modernization does not lead to helping patients, says acting ASDHA at HIMSS21 in Las Vegas.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Military Health System Transformation

Got Your 6: August 16, 2021

Video
8/16/2021
Got Your 6: August 16, 2021

‘Got Your 6’ is TRICARE’s COVID vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, on days that end in ‘6.’ It includes the latest information about DOD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability. Got a question about ‘Got Your 6’? Send an email to dha.ncr.comm.mbx.dha-internal-communications@mail.mil Find your local military provider at tricare.mil/MTF, or go to tricare.mil/vaccineappointments and schedule yours today!

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Lt. Gen. Place and Command Sgt. Maj. Gragg on Getting Vaccinated

Video
8/16/2021
DHA Logo with the text: Importance of Vaccinations Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place & Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Gragg

DHA Director Lt. Gen. Ron Place and DHA Senior Enlisted Leader Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg talk about how getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is more important than ever.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Don't Hesitate: Vaccinate Today for School

Article
8/13/2021
A boy gets the COVID-19 vaccine

Back to School Means Vaccine Time

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Vaccine Recommendations | Children's Health | Immunizations | TRICARE Health Program

Services Will Make Call on Religious Exemptions to COVID-19 Vaccines

Article
8/13/2021
Two medical people prepare syringes with doses of the COVID-19 vaccine

"There is a religious exemption possibility for any mandatory vaccine, and there's a process that we go through to counsel the individual both from a medical and from a command perspective about using a religious exemption," Kirby said.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 29

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.