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American Association of Physician Specialists Foundation Supports New Disaster Medicine Training Program

Citizen Airmen assigned to the 927th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, (ASTS) MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. recently participated in a disaster medicine readiness seminar.  Dr. Stephen Cunnion, and the American Academy of Disaster Medicine (AADM) discussed topics such as dirty bombs, skin manifestations and mosquito borne diseases.

The seminar brought in two well-rounded subject matter experts that possess both civilian and military backgrounds and were both instrumental in providing educational and clinical support on behalf of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention following the 2001 postal anthrax attacks.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Peter Dean)

Dr. Donald Donahue a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Medical Service Corps, a board member of the AADM, and the Secretary of the North American Chapter of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine, covered topics such as, Dirty Bombs and disaster behavioral health.

His counterpart, Dr. Stephen Cunnion, a retired Captain in the Navy Medical Corps and has been credited with alerting the Western medical community to the emergence of SARS, discussed GI issues, skin manifestations and mosquito borne diseases.

“We can’t wait until a disaster happens to train and prepare for it,” said Lt. Col. Margaret Lalor, chief medical readiness and plans officer, 927 ASTS. “We need to not only know how to effectively respond, we need to ensure we know how to protect ourselves from the threat and just as important we need to have established relationships with our civilian first responder counterparts, during an emergency is not the time to network.”

The 927 ASTS is comprised of Citizen Airmen that are dedicated to providing comprehensive and quality healthcare for both humanitarian and wartime missions throughout the globe.

“The training helps fulfill the missions of all three groups. It has been customized for the Florida based unit, drawing upon globally recognized expertise and addressing travel related risks, emerging communicable diseases, and emergency preparedness and response,” said Debra Wurmlinger, Affairs Coordinator, AAPS Foundation. “Providing education to the Air Force Reserve Command squadron offers a unique benefit, preparing the medical professionals and support staff for their military mission while simultaneously enhancing hometown capabilities to improve medical care and services, enhance outcomes, and save lives.”

By Tech Sgt. Peter Dean, 927th Refueling Wing, Public Affairs, August 2016