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 . 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...

Heat Illness Prevention: Use the Buddy System to Stay Cool and Safe

Infographic
7/20/2017
Heat Illness Prevention: Use the Buddy System to Stay Cool and Safe

This infographic documents the use of the buddy system to prevent heat-related illnesses.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Summer Safety

Incidence of Nontyphoidal Salmonella Intestinal Infections Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007 – 2016

Infographic
7/11/2017
Incidence of Nontyphoidal Salmonella Intestinal Infections Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007 – 2016

This report summarizes the counts, rates, and trends of nontyphoidal Salmonella infections in active component service members during a 10-year surveillance period.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division

Incidence of Escherichia Coli Intestinal Infections Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007 – 2016

Infographic
7/11/2017
Incidence of Escherichia Coli Intestinal Infections Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007 – 2016

This report summarizes the counts, rates, and trends of Escherichia coli gastrointestinal infections in active component service members over the past 10 years.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division

Estimate of the Incidence of Norovirus Infections Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007 - 2016

Infographic
7/11/2017
Estimate of the Incidence of Norovirus Infections Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007 - 2016

This report estimates the incidence of norovirus diagnoses among active component service members during a 10-year surveillance period.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division

Viral Hepatitis A, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007 - 2016

Infographic
6/19/2017
Viral Hepatitis A, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2007 - 2016

This infographic documents the frequencies, incidence rates, trends, and correlates of risk of hepatitis A among active component service members of the U.S. military during 2007-2016.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division

Tinea Pedis (Athlete’s Foot) U.S. Armed Forces, 2000-2016

Infographic
6/19/2017
Tinea Pedis (Athlete’s Foot) U.S. Armed Forces, 2000-2016

This infographic summarizes the counts, rates, trends and demographic characteristics of diagnoses of tinea pedis among U.S. active component service members during 2000 -2016.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division

Risk Factors for Tinea Pedis Infections (Athlete’s Foot) among U.S. Armed Forces

Infographic
6/19/2017
Risk Factors for Tinea Pedis Infections (Athlete’s Foot) among U.S. Armed Forces

This infographic documents the risk factors for tinea pedis infections (athlete’s foot).

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division

Surveillance Snapshot: Respiratory Infections Resulting in Hospitalizations, U.S. Air Force Recruits, October 2010 – February 2017

Infographic
6/19/2017
Surveillance Snapshot: Respiratory Infections Resulting in Hospitalizations, U.S. Air Force Recruits, October 2010 – February 2017

This infographic displays the trend in hospitalizations for respiratory infections, stratified by major pathogens, and associated hospital days for all recruits in U.S. Air Force Basic Military Training at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland, TX.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division

Medical encounters, by condition, U.S. Armed Forces 2016

Infographic
5/25/2017
Medical encounters, by condition, U.S. Armed Forces 2016

This infographic documents the three burden of disease related conditions that accounted for the most medical encounters among the active component of the U.S. Armed Forces in 2016.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Conditions and Treatments

Accidental Drownings Among U.S. Service Members

Infographic
5/25/2017
Accidental Drownings Among U.S. Service Members

Military members are at risk for unintentional drownings during training, occupational activities and off-duty recreation. This infographic provides swim safety information to help increase awareness and lower the risks of accidental drownings among service members.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Summer Safety

Healthcare Burdens Attributable to Various Mental Disorders, U.S. Armed Forces 2016

Infographic
5/25/2017
Healthcare Burdens Attributable to Various Mental Disorders, U.S. Armed Forces 2016

This infographic documents the mental disorders that affected U.S. Armed Forces in 2016.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division |

Erectile Dysfunction among Male Active Component Service members

Infographic
5/25/2017
Erectile Dysfunction among Male Active Component Service members

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is defined as the persistent inability to achieve and sustain an erection that is adequate for sexual intercourse. This infographic provides details on the ways ED impacts male active component services members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division | Men's Health

Ambulatory visits, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016

Infographic
5/18/2017
Ambulatory visits, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016

This infographic documents the frequencies, rates, trends and characteristics of ambulatory healthcare visits of active component members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps during 2016.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division

Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens Attributable to Various illnesses and Injuries, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016

Infographic
5/18/2017
Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens Attributable to Various illnesses and Injuries, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2016

Several classification systems and morbidity measures have been developed to quantify absolute and relative morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries among the active component of the U.S. Armed Forces. This graphic highlights findings about the active component of the U.S. Armed Forces in 2016.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division

Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens Attributable to various illnesses and injuries: Non-service member beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2016

Infographic
5/18/2017
Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens Attributable to various illnesses and injuries: Non-service member beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2016

Individuals who are eligible for care through the Military Health System (MHS) are known as MHS beneficiaries. This graphic provides information on the absolute and relative morbidity burdens attributable to various illnesses and injuries among non-service member beneficiaries of the MHS in 2016.

Recommended Content:

Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division
<< < ... 6 7 8 9 10  ... > >> 
Showing results 121 - 135 Page 9 of 12
Refine your search
Last Updated: February 15, 2022

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.