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HomeNewsFort Campbell Preventative Medicine Course goes beyond Classroom

Fort Campbell Preventative Medicine Course goes beyond Classroom

Written by Sgt. Samantha Stoffregen
101st Airborne Division

Fort Campbell KY - 101st Airborne DivisionFort Campbell, KY – During the training, the participants were to complete a base camp assessment with various inspections around areas like the food prep, water buffalo, and latrines, as well as successfully solve a scenario involving techniques reviewed earlier in the week.

“We’ve been working with Public Health Command-Atlantic to expand the skill set of our 68Ws, [medics] and to review topics for our preventive medicine [brigade] teams that they don’t normally get to address at their duty station, but will address down range during deployment,” said Maj. Melissa Reister, division environmental science and force health officer.

A team of Soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), 86th Combat Aviation Support Hospital and Blanchfield Army Community Hospital conduct an interview with a 3rd Brigade Combat Team medic as part of a field exercise portion during a preventative medicine course October 26, 2017. Three teams were given varying scenarios in which they had to identify the health issue, conduct interviews and perform soil, water, or air tests. (Sgt. Samantha Stoffregen, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) public affairs)
A team of Soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), 86th Combat Aviation Support Hospital and Blanchfield Army Community Hospital conduct an interview with a 3rd Brigade Combat Team medic as part of a field exercise portion during a preventative medicine course October 26, 2017. Three teams were given varying scenarios in which they had to identify the health issue, conduct interviews and perform soil, water, or air tests. (Sgt. Samantha Stoffregen, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) public affairs)

Reister explained the course is normally put on for deploying units, but with a recent influx of junior Soldiers, she wanted to ensure as many Soldiers across Fort Campbell were prepared for any mission that could come up in the future.

“What we wanted to do was focus on the hands-on aspect as much as possible, so we spent the first three days working on background information [in the classroom],” Reister said. “Then with the field exercise, the participants get to actually set up the equipment and know how it applies in the field.”

1st Lt. Jacob Pinion, an environmental science officer with 526 Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), takes a soil sample during a field exercise October 26, 2017. The field exercise was a culminating event for a preventative medicine health course that focused on expanding the skillset of medics and reviewed topics for brigade preventive medicine teams. (Sgt. Samantha Stoffregen, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) public affairs) The 17 participants were broken down into three teams, each given a specific scenario they needed to identify and solve. Observers with Public Health Command-Atlantic aided and critiqued the teams as they navigated the exercise.

“I think sitting through a PowerPoint or reading from a textbook is one thing, but getting to come to the field and put my hands on the equipment, doing a base camp assessment, etc. is extremely helpful,” said Spc. Amanda Jacobsen, a medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, Division Artillery.

Jacobsen, who was part of team two, said the course was a great opportunity for her to diversify her abilities and helped broaden her view on preventive health.

Spc. Amanda Jacobsen, a medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, Division Artillery, 101st Airborne Division, ties off string to create a fence around a notional chemical spill as part of a field exercise during a preventative medicine course October 26, 2017. The course focused on expanding the skillset of medics and reviewed topics for brigade preventive medicine teams. (Sgt. Samantha Stoffregen, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) public affairs) “This training gives me a different spectrum of skills, so now if needed, I can help with preventive medicine, as well as actually helping train the Soldiers because I know what I’m looking for and what to be aware of,” she said.

Scenarios varied from contaminated water sources to chemical spills, with each one challenging the Soldiers to use the skills they had been taught.

“In environmental health, we’re concerned with anything that could make Soldiers sick and take them out of the fight- that involves water, soil and air,” Reister said. “We may have real world things like bacterial illnesses in the water, chemical exposures from spills or waste from [power] plants they are located next to.”

A team of Soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), 86th Combat Aviation Support Hospital and Blanchfield Army Community Hospital inspect a water buffalo as part of a field exercise portion during a preventative medicine course October 26, 2017. The course focused on expanding the skillset of medics and reviewed topics for brigade preventive medicine teams. (Sgt. Samantha Stoffregen, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) public affairs) To solve their scenario, the teams had to take soil samples and water samples, giving them an opportunity to use the instruments they reviewed during the classroom portion, which Reister felt was instrumental for them to be successful at preventative med.

“Some of these instruments can be fairly complex and the principles behind whether you use them or not can be complex, until you actually use them,” Reister said. “We have all these fancy gadgets, but can you take that great piece of equipment and figure out if that’s the piece you need to figure out your scenario or problem you are trying to solve? That’s key.”

Reister said she intends to continue incorporating field time with the preventive med class, even though it’s not traditionally part of the course.

“Since this is the first time, I’m hoping to get a lot of good feedback from the Soldiers so the next time we put on the course, we can make it even better,” she said.

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