PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

In   Issue .

Russell Schedlich

As I sit here on a holiday  long weekend, I am once again assailed by the news that ADF Health  Personnel have been deployed  to Bali to assist in the medevac and care of a number of Australians who have been severely injured  as a result  of terrorist  bombings.It is the nature of our military  health  personnel, both in the Permanent Forces and Reserves, that  they are often required to make  themselves available, and almost invariably  do so willingly, at any time of the day or night to support these kinds of emergency operations.

Disaster relief operations seem  to be coming  more commonplace. We have had our  own share in the Asia Pacific region, from Bali in 2002  to the devastating tsunami and earthquake over the last festive season. The US has recently suffered  the devastation of Hurricane Katrina,  with  Rita following  close behind, but fortunately  not as destructive. In the UK a few months ago we had  the Underground bombings.

These events remind us yet again of the need  for our military health personnel to be as well prepared as possible for these events… with  personnel, training, materiel  and operational planning and procedures well developed  and readily available.

I believe that  the Australian Military Medicine Association plays an important part  in supporting the Defence health  community in its efforts to remain  at the forefront of preparedness and effectiveness.

This month’s journal contains a wealth of articles, previously published, on weapons and munition effects -missile, blast, thermal  and non-lethal. As such, in this time of increasing tension, it serves as a timely  reminder  of the fundamental role of health services  in the military.

In a couple  of weeks’ time, we will be holding our Annual Conference, in Launceston. We have had a tremendous response, both in terms of papers (over 50 submitted) and delegates- over 110 already registered.

We have been honoured to have secured  the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, to deliver the keynote address. The newly appointed Surgeon  General,  Rear Admiral Graeme Shirtley RAN, will also address  the delegates.

Captain  Art Smith  MC USN (Rtd) will be delivering a keynote  paper  on military health  ethics. This will be followed by a panel discussion  and open forum  on ethics. Art will also be conducting a workshop on sea-based  operational health support which I am sure will be thought provoking. The workshop will be held at the Australian Maritime College  on Friday afternoon, and will be preceded by a tour of the College.

If you haven’t registered for the conference … do so now at www.amma.asn.au.

I look forward  to seeing you all in Launceston.

Russell Schedlich