Skip to main content

Military Health System

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

Image of 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. . 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.

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Health Care Technology | MHS Remembers 9/11 | Education & Training | Medical Education and Training Campus

This year, the Defense Healthy Agency joins the entire nation in commemorating the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks — a searing moment in American history that remains all too vivid for many Americans today.

Not only were military medical personnel critical in treating and saving lives of victims of the attack on the Pentagon, but our military medical forces also responded to ground zero in New York. Many of the medical heroes of 9/11 continue to serve their country and care for patients today.

Since 9/11, the level of medical care for service members, retirees, and their families continues to improve and change. Years of military conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan brought innovations that completely transformed the Military Health System's approach to combat casualty care. These contributions not only shaped military medicine; they also transformed the overall field of medicine, helping to save lives around the country and the world.

Here's a list of just a few ways military medicine has evolved in the two decades since the 9/11 attacks:

1. Stop the Bleed

In life-threatening emergencies, minutes can make the difference between life and death. Bleeding control techniques, such as tourniquet application and packing open wounds with clean gauze ­– which were once primarily reserved for the battlefield – are now being widely taught to the public through the Stop the Bleed campaign, which trains Americans on how to respond to bleeding emergencies.

Early bleeding control is important both off and on the battlefield. Hemorrhage secondary to traumatic injury is the leading cause of death of Americans between the ages of 1 and 46. The Stop the Bleed campaign was launched in 2015 by the White House's National Security Council Staff. Since then, bleeding control has become widely taught and bleeding control kits are now commonplace in schools, airports, workplaces, and other locations.

2. ER-REBOA

Military research into bleeding control continues to be a priority, and lessons learned on the battlefield are being carried over to the home front. For example, the resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) device to stop hemorrhaging received approval in 2015 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The device was designed by Air Force Col. (Dr.) Todd Rasmussen and Dr. Jonathan Eliason, who served tours at the military's level III surgical hospital in Balad, Iraq and saw a need for a device that could stop blood loss in the pelvic area and abdomen. The ER-REBOA is not only being used by the military, but also in more than 250 hospitals internationally, and has greatly increased patient survival rates.

3. Osseointegration — Advances in Prosthetics

Advances in artificial limb technology since 9/11 have enabled warfighters who lost an arm, a leg or the use of multiple extremities, in Iraq or Afghanistan to function better. On December 7, 2015, two amputees who were Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, Bryant Jacobs and Ed Salau, became the first Americans to get a percutaneous osseointegrated prosthesis, or POP implant, through a clinical trial funded through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

While traditional prostheses involve placing the residual limb into a cup-like shell called a socket – which can cause pain, discomfort, and infection – the POP implants are surgically anchored into the patient's remaining thigh bone to allow connection to the prosthesis. Patients report a number of benefits including improved mobility, improved comfort, a decreased risk of falls, and a more "part of me" experience compared to socket prostheses.

In 2020, FDA approved the Osseoanchored Prostheses for the Rehabilitation of Amputees Implant System, the first implant system approved specifically for adults who have above-the-knee amputations.

4. METC Training – Prolonged Field Care

To prepare for future battlefields where there is limited ability to quickly evacuate a patient to a higher level of care, the Medical Education and Training Campus' Combat Medic Specialist Training Program in San Antonio, Texas has developed an Introduction to Delayed Evacuation Care component to its capstone Combat Field Training Exercise.

The goal is to expose the Army's point of care medical personnel – the 68W Combat Medic Specialists assigned to the US Army Medical Center of Excellence – to the principles of prolonged field care. The pilot program launched in June 2021 aims to better prepare medics for near-peer conflict when immediate medical evacuation may be difficult.

5. Val G. Hemming Simulation Center at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Recent wars have demonstrated the need for more training and practice in life-saving procedures on the battlefield. Using simulation for training military medical personnel dates back to the 1960s. In 1999, the Val G. Hemming Simulation Center at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, was created through the vision of the dean of the School of Medicine, Dr. Val Hemming. The center uses live actor simulation, mannequins, task trainers, and virtual reality to help train medical students, graduate-level nursing students, and Graduate Medical Education trainees.

The center is one of the largest and most comprehensive simulation centers in the MHS. In 2005, the Army established the Medical Simulation Training Center (MSTC) program with the goal of building and standardizing the skills of Army Combat Medics. However, the MSTC did not include physician and nurse training. In turn, the MHS initiated the establishment of hospital and school-based simulation centers to enhance clinical training and experience among doctors and nurses.

6. QuikClot

Uncontrolled bleeding is the leading cause of preventable death on the battlefield. Increased use of tourniquets and hemostatic dressings, which clot the blood inside the wound, have saved the lives of many seriously wounded service members.

Soon after the attacks of Sep. 11, 2001, the Defense Department launched a series of studies to identify the most effective technology. Quikclot Combat Gauze has been used by the U.S. military in operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. This type of bandage uses a compound found in the exoskeletons of shrimp and lobsters that helps form blood clots.

7. MHS Apps

The Military Health System is more than just a large health care institution — it is also a community. Over the years, the MHS has developed a series of apps to provide that community, including patients and healthcare providers and staff, with information on practical, easy-to-use health care mobile apps. They range from apps to help with relaxation and breathing to immunization reference material and tools for evaluation and treatment of concussions.

The goal of the app portfolio is to help improve the quality of services provided to MHS patients, providers, and staff, to ensure they have the information technology products available for all their needs. A list of available apps can be found at the bottom of the Solution Delivery Division's webpage on Health.mil.

8. MHS Centers of Excellence

Military Health System Centers of Excellence, or CoEs, were established to help the Department of Defense to speed the advancement of our scientific knowledge and evidence-based practices for diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions that impact our military personnel and their families with the help of a critical mass of experts.

The following are a list of MHS COEs:

You also may be interested in...

Air Force Medical Officer's Quick Thinking Saves Life at Accident

Article
10/12/2022
Profile image of a woman

U.S. Air Force officer’s heroic efforts helps save a life after car crash.

Recommended Content:

Education & Training

Military Health Symposium Research Shapes Future of Warfighter Health

Article
10/5/2022
U.S. Army Col Jennifer Stowe presents her research from behind a podium at the MHSRS meeting 2022.

Scientific session at the Military Health System Research Symposium highlights research addressing critical military medical issues.

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | MHS Research Symposium

Cutting-Edge Science Featured at Military Health System Research Symposium

Article
9/15/2022
Ms. Seileen Mullen, the acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, makes opening remarks during the Military Health System Research Symposium at the Gaylord Hotel in Kissimmee, FL on Monday, September 12, 2022. MHSRS provides a collaborative setting for the exchange of information between military providers with deployment experience, research and academic scientists, international partners, and industry on research and related health care initiatives, such as Combat Casualty Care, Operational Medicine, Clinical and Rehabilitative Medicine, Medical Simulation and Information Sciences, and infectious Diseases.

The 2022 Military Health System Research Symposium, held in Kissimmee, Fla., opened this week after a two-year pandemic hiatus. The audience was enthusiastic as MHS leaders shared their opening remarks.

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | MHS Research Symposium

Research Symposium Recognizes 2022 Award Winners

Article
9/15/2022
Dr. Sumil Shah accepts the Outstanding Program Management (Team) Award, along with some members of his team from Ms. Seileen Mullen, the acting secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. MHSRS provides a collaborative setting for the exchange of information between military providers with deployment experience, research and academic scientists, international partners, and industry on research and related health care initiatives, such as Combat Casualty Care, Operational Medicine, Clinical and Rehabilitative Medicine, Medical Simulation and Information Sciences, and infectious Diseases.

The 2022 Military Health System Research Symposium highlighted and honored innovative researchers dedicated to help the warfighter on and off the battlefield.

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | MHS Research Symposium

At Patriot's Day Remembrance, DHA Honors 9/11 Victims, Responders

Article
9/13/2022
A man holds a picture of a flag.

Telling our stories is an important way to remember and honor the fallen on that day.

Recommended Content:

MHS Remembers 9/11

Technology and Medicine: The Digital Age of Health Care

Article
8/26/2022
Photo of an afternoon panel of four people

Technology is transforming health care and incorporating new elements for providers in their practices.

Recommended Content:

Military Health System Transformation | MHS GENESIS: The Electronic Health Record | Health Care Technology | Defense Health Information Technology Symposium

Department of Defense Streamlining Health Tech for Beneficiaries

Article
8/23/2022
People in an exhibit hall.

Advances in technology has vastly improved the accessibility to beneficiaries’ electronic health records.

Recommended Content:

Health Care Technology | Defense Health Information Technology Symposium

Bulgarian Armed Forces Demonstrate Combat Medical Advancements

Article
8/22/2022
Two medics tend to a dummy in a simulated emergency.

Bulgarian Armed Forces showed off their combat lifesaving training to a U.S. delegation Aug. 10.

Recommended Content:

Education & Training | Health Readiness & Combat Support | Global Health Engagement

DHA Program Supports Training Education of Future Medical Providers

Article
7/20/2022
Military personnel looking at display

The Clinical Investigations Program combines research and training to teach and develop the future clinicians of the Military Health System.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Education & Training | Health Care Technology | Health Readiness & Combat Support

The Need for Speed Requires Intense Training

Article
7/18/2022
 Military personnel conducts routine ops in US 3rd Fleet

Tom Cruise has nothing on real military pilots and their training.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Education & Training | Physical Fitness

DHA Leads NATO's Historical Medical Interoperability Exercise

Article
7/15/2022
Officers watch a presentation in a room.

The Defense Health Agency collaborated with NATO and partner organizations for CWIX 2022 held in Poland, 6-24 June.

Recommended Content:

Health Care Technology | Global Health Engagement | Building Partner Capacity and Interoperability

MHS Virtual Education Center Empowers Patients to Improve Outcomes

Article
7/14/2022
Army Col. (Dr.) Maria Molina provides insight on the latest MHS digital resource for patients.

The Defense Health Agency is developing the Virtual Education Center: A web-based library and communications platform that enables providers and patients to access, store, and use vetted MHS education resources more easily than ever before.

Recommended Content:

MHS GENESIS: The Electronic Health Record | Ready Reliable Care | Health Care Technology | MHS GENESIS

How MHS GENESIS will become essential to patients' health journey

Article
6/21/2022
Dr. Robert Marshall, program director of the Department of Defense Clinical Informatics Fellowship at Madigan Army Medical Center.

Ensuring proper training of both providers and patients is essential for the successful integration and sustainment of MHS GENESIS into MHS care.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Health Care Technology | MHS GENESIS Toolkit | MHS GENESIS: The Electronic Health Record | MHS GENESIS

Dr. Jonathan Woodson Tapped to Lead Uniformed Services University

Article
6/8/2022
Dr. Jonathan Woodson Selected to Lead USU

Dr. Jonathan Woodson, a vascular surgeon and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, will lead the nation’s only federal health sciences university – the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences – as its new President.

Recommended Content:

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences | Our Organization | Education & Training

How Military Medicine Is Preparing for the Next Conflict

Article
6/8/2022
As the Pentagon prepares today’s force for a “near-peer” fight against a large military adversary, the Military Health System is challenged to provide life-saving support for large-scale and dispersed operations.

As the Pentagon prepares today’s force for a “near-peer” fight against a large military adversary, the Military Health System is challenged to provide life-saving support for large-scale and dispersed operations. That’s especially true for the medics supporting troops on the front lines.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Health Care Technology | Education & Training | Medical Education and Training Campus
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 5
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 05, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery