UNMC welcomes Defense Health Agency for health security tour

At center, Lt. Col Elizabeth Schnaubelt, MD, led (at left) Major Gen. George Appenzeller, MD, special assistant to the Defense Health Agency director, on a tour of the negatively pressurized CONEX unit in December along with (at right) Chris Kratochvil, MD, UNMC vice chancellor for external relations.

At center, Lt. Col Elizabeth Schnaubelt, MD, led (at left) Major Gen. George Appenzeller, MD, special assistant to the Defense Health Agency director, on a tour of the negatively pressurized CONEX unit in December along with (at right) Chris Kratochvil, MD, UNMC vice chancellor for external relations.

UNMC hosted a tour in December for military officials with the U.S. Defense Health Agency, a combat support agency that works across the Army, Navy and Air Force.

Visiting were Major Gen. George Appenzeller, MD, special assistant to the Defense Health Agency director who is former deputy surgeon general for the U.S. Army; Sean Biggerstaff, PhD, deputy director for research development with the DHA; and Ruth Knowles, acquisition operations manager with the agency.

In addition to meeting with UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, the DHA team heard about the military and federal government collaborations at UNMC. And leadership from the Global Center for Health Security and across UNMC and Nebraska Medicine discussed and showcased the med center’s biopreparedness expertise.

Lt. Col Elizabeth Schnaubelt, MD (at left), and Air Force Center for Sustainment of Trauma Readiness Skills (C-STARS) Omaha work with the negatively pressurized CONEX unit, a retrofitted shipping container redesigned into a clinical space for high-level-isolation patient movement on military aircraft.

Among the stops on the visit:

  • A briefing on the Air Force Center for Sustainment of Trauma Readiness Skills (C-STARS) Omaha, a collaboration between UNMC, Nebraska Medicine and the Air Force Research Laboratory’s School of Aerospace Medicine.
  • A tour of the negatively pressurized CONEX unit – a retrofitted shipping container redesigned into a clinical space for high-level-isolation patient movement on military aircraft.
  • A tour of the Training, Simulation and Quarantine Center – a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response and UNMC. It is housed at the Davis Global Center.
  • A tour of the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit led by Shelly Schwedhelm, Nebraska Medicine’s executive director of emergency management and biopreparedness.

Major Gen. (Dr. ) Appenzeller said the med center has a phenomenal program for combining initial research followed by training, followed by actual operational use. He said he was very impressed, calling the med center “a great resource that we should leverage as much as possible as a nation.”

“It’s a national resource,” he said. “What they are doing is saving lives across the world, whether they know it or not and whether they physically take part in it or not. The advances that are being made are game-changing. They truly are.”

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