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Minnesota National Guard
Partnerships prosper as military and civilian health care providers discuss best practices for military members

Minnesota National Guard ST LOUIS PARK, Minn- A partnership with exemplary beginnings - two groups recognizing a need to discuss ideas on how to provide the best health care for Service members - is how the Minnesota National Guard and Park Nicollet were brought together for a two-day conference, January 18-19, 2014 Park Nicollet provided the venue at their St Louis Park campus, which facilitated military and civilian medical professionals from around the state to share their knowledge with each other

One of the greatest strengths the Minnesota National Guard has is its relationship with the community Statewide, Minnesota offers some of the nation's industry leaders in the medical community The Minnesota National Guard's medical practitioners continually utilize their civilian counterparts to cross-pollinate ideas on current issues to better serve its fighting force

The professional relationships made by the Minnesota National Guard's medical practitioners in their civilian practice expose them to other best practice ideas that expand upon the knowledge found within the state of Minnesota In their efforts for continuing growth and education in their fields, they reach out to the local community for information on the latest applications and approaches by which care is provided

In the year ahead, the Office of the State Surgeon General is directing efforts to codify the system for the Post Deployment Health Assessment "In 2014, we seek to establish a more comprehensive case management system, standardizing how the Soldier is managed through active treatment and final disposition," said Lt. Col. Amanda Digre, Minnesota National Guard Deputy State Surgeon "The end goal is to provide a better experience for Service members throughout the process and to de-stigmatize voluntary disclosure - getting the word out that disclosure does not end in discharge"

Too often, a Service member goes without reporting an injury or issue with the thought that they could lose their position The added stress of this can lead to greater harm than good by prolonging the necessary (and proper) treatment Minnesota National Guard State Surgeon Col Joseph Burns suggest that Service members take responsibility of their personal health "The biggest thing that makes a difference is knowing your people," said Burns "Face-to-face communication amongst your peers is our greatest defense in preventing or furthering injury"

Some of the biggest changes ahead will be how the Minnesota National Guard maintains readiness "Comprehensive wellness is subsequently the goal of comprehensive readiness" said Digre

At the formal dining out portion of the conference, John Kriesel, an Iraq war wounded veteran, spoke about the incidents of combat that changed everything and the medical care he received to save his life His extraordinary challenges and resilience are detailed in his book "Still Standing" which he used as an outline to encourage and inspire others through his experiences

The Soldiers and Airmen of the Minnesota National Guard stand only to benefit from the conference held this past weekend Maj Dean Stultz stated, "Our goal coming into this weekend was to bring the state's medical officers, senior non-commissioned officers, senior readiness personnel and civilians together to educate each other, establish esprit de corps and tackle the biggest issues we face We accomplished all of this and more We look forward to continuing our newfound relationships with our civilian partners in the years to come"

January 23, 2014
by Tech Sgt Paul Santikko
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

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