Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Health surveillance advances military medicine over past 30 years

Image of Military personnel crouched on the ground . Click to open a larger version of the image. The Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division continues to evolve military health surveillance in order to detect new and emerging hazards, track rates and trends of illnesses and injuries of concern. Their efforts support our service members operating in austere conditions, like the Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit as they participate in Exercise Cobra Gold 2020 in Thailand (Photo by: Marine Lance Cpl. Colton Garrett, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit).

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Data Management and Technical Support | DoD Serum Repository | Health Innovation Toolkit

Military health surveillance has seen dramatic changes and improvements since the Persian Gulf War ended in 1991.

"Over the past 30 years, military health surveillance has evolved from a focus on science for sake of knowledge, to a focus on medical readiness of the individual soldier, Marine, sailor and airman to ensure that if called upon, they are ready to fight and win the nations wars," said Army Col. Douglas Badzik, chief of the Defense Health Agency's Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division.

Those investigating the medical complaints of Gulf War veterans were hindered because relevant records were often inaccessible or nonexistent. The records that were found lacked uniformity and accuracy, and were generally not automated.

"The last 30 years have seen improvements in data collection, automation, and transmission. It has allowed for the creation of robust longitudinal health surveillance records on military populations," said Dr. Mark Rubertone, chief of AFHSD's Data Management & Technical Support section.

Badzik agrees, "This trend was accelerated in 2014 with the establishment of the Defense Health Agency and its role as a combat support agency and, the transition of AFHSD - known at that as the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center - to the DHA public health directorate. The establishment of AFHSD also significantly increased the coordination of surveillance among the service public health entities."

Tools such as the Defense Medical Surveillance System (DMSS), a continuously expanding, fully integrated, relational public health surveillance system allowed for the conduct of powerful epidemiological assessments into the morbidity experiences of service members. Other "remote access" tools such as the Defense Medical Epidemiologic Database (DMED), the Electronic Surveillance System for the Early Notification of Community-based Epidemics (ESSENCE), and the Health Surveillance Explorer (HSE) provided users with unparalleled access to timely, relevant, and actionable information.

The most recent tool, the HSE, is a dynamic CAC-enabled mapping application that allows Geographic Combatant Commands to identify global health threats and disease outbreaks in near real-time.

Additionally, advances in biospecimen research utilizing repositories such as the DOD Serum Repository (DoDSR) with more than 70 million frozen serum specimens collected on service members during the past 30 years have contributed greatly to our knowledge of service members' health. With links to relevant demographic, occupational, and medical information within the DMSS database, the DoDSR provides a unique and powerful resource to support the conduct of military medical surveillance, clinical care, and seroepidemiologic investigations.

The potential values of comprehensive public health surveillance are numerous and well recognized. It remains essential that population-based demographic, exposure, and medical outcomes data are routinely and systematically collected from various sources and integrated into public health surveillance systems.

"If resourced properly and fully utilized in the DOD, future public health officials from all Services in the Defense Health Agency will be positioned to detect new and emerging hazards, track rates and trends of illnesses and injuries of concern, and prioritize and focus prevention programs," said Rubertone, an army retired colonel.

Badzik further explains, "The coordination among the Service public health entities has been invaluable in combating the COVID pandemic, which does not care what color uniform a Service Member is wearing. While health surveillance within DOD is still conducted to the highest scientific standards, it is now done through the lens of improving the medical readiness of the individual service member."

You also may be interested in...

DHA Appointing Portal simplifies signing up for COVID-19 vaccination

Article
4/23/2021
Image of military health personnel wearing a face mask scheduling COVID-19 vaccine shots. Click to open a larger version of the image.

A new online and easy-to-use COVID-19 vaccine appointment portal is rolling out around the world at Military Treatment Facilities. It needs some tweaking on the admin end, users say.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Health Innovation Toolkit

Tele-critical care will play increased COVID-19 response role in 2021

Article
4/15/2021
Infographic that says "202 tele-critical care successes will help 2021 COVID19 response"

Virtual health and particularly tele-critical care for critically ill patients assumed frontline roles in sustaining care while keeping beneficiaries and health care teams safe.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Innovation Toolkit

MHS GENESIS Patient Portal expands new features

Article
4/5/2021
Military health personnel wearing a face mask looking at a computer screen

The MHS GENESIS patient portal is readying new features and expanding existing ones, including its online library, and has rolled out special COVID-19 capabilities.

Recommended Content:

Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS Toolkit | Health Innovation Toolkit

Telemedicine advances put to the test during pandemic

Article
4/1/2021
Uniformed service member stands behind wall of computer screens

COVID-19 has led to the need for physical distancing and has overwhelmed the capacities of health systems, compelling many to adopt telehealth solutions.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Research and Innovation | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Health Innovation Toolkit

Decide + Be Ready: supporting today’s modern service woman

Article
3/23/2021
Picture of three different women with the words "decide and be ready mobile app"

New women’s app ‘Decide + Be Ready’, helps today’s service woman make proactive decisions regarding their contraceptive decisions.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Health Innovation Toolkit

Army Announces FDA Clearance of Field Deployable TBI Blood Test

Article
3/12/2021
Military personnel standing in the snow preparing to fire a missile

The US Army announced Food & Drug Administration clearance of a field-deployable traumatic brain injury blood test.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Brain Injury Awareness Month | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Health Innovation Toolkit

MHS GENESIS MassVax System Rolling Out with COVID-19 Vaccines

Article
3/9/2021
Military personnel wearing face mask sitting in a line waiting for their COVID-19 vaccine

The new MHS GENESIS MassVax record-keeping tool is expediting and simplifying the process of COVID-19 vaccinations across the DOD

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS Toolkit | Health Innovation Toolkit

DOD initiatives address the sexual health of our military

Article
2/17/2021
Image of a bacterium

STIs are important to identify and treat because they can impact service members’ health and readiness, as well as their ability to perform their duties.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Health Readiness | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Men's Health | Women's Health | Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention

MHS operational innovations continue in battle against COVID-19

Article
1/5/2021
Two medical personnel, wearing full PPE, in an operating room

MHS innovations in 2020 include a new registry for real-time COVID-19 data and a system to free up hospital beds and protect patients from the disease.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Research and Innovation | | Technology | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Health Innovation Toolkit

AFHSD’s GEIS collect data worldwide to support force protection

Article
12/22/2020
Medical personnel scanning forehead of soldier with thermometer

AFHSD/GEIS continue work with partners across the globe in their efforts to combat COVID-19 and protect military readiness.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health | Coronavirus | Environmental Exposures | Global Health Engagement | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

GEIS Program collaborates to combat antibiotic resistance

Article
10/19/2020
Scientist in a lab

Through evolution, commonly circulating pathogens can develop resistance to antibiotics,

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division

2000-2019 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
9/30/2020

DVBIC is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking TBI data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find data on the number of active-duty service members — anywhere U.S. forces are located — with a first-time TBI diagnosis from 2000-2019.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources | Worldwide TBI Numbers | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Educators | TBI Provider Resources

DHA recognizes 25 years of AFHSB's health surveillance journal

Article
8/12/2020
Medical technicians wearing masks and entering information on a computer

25 Years of Surveillance Reporting in Monthly Journal

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report

2008 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
8/10/2020

DVBIC is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking TBI data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find annual and quarterly reports that provide data on the number of active-duty service members — anywhere U.S. forces are located — with a first-time TBI diagnosis since 2000.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | DOD TBI Worldwide Numbers | TBI Educators | Patient and Family Resources | TBI Provider Resources | TBICoE Research | A Head for the Future | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Defense Medical Surveillance System | Surveillance Case Definitions | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources

2007 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
8/10/2020

DVBIC is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking TBI data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find annual and quarterly reports that provide data on the number of active-duty service members — anywhere U.S. forces are located — with a first-time TBI diagnosis since 2000.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | DOD TBI Worldwide Numbers | TBI Educators | Patient and Family Resources | TBI Provider Resources | TBICoE Research | A Head for the Future | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Defense Medical Surveillance System | Surveillance Case Definitions | Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 of 13

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.