Across the Army, in thirty-plus locations on three continents, some 2,500 uniformed, civilian, and contract personnel deal directly with or control access to special materials: nuclear, biological or chemical.
At these research, storage or destruction facilities, the Army has by regulation established Surety programs which safeguard the physical security, safety, and reliability of these special materials.
As a part of this Secretary of the Army-designated Sensitive Activity, safeguarding the health of these worker populations and ensuring that they are reliably able to carry out their important duties requires additional tasks to be performed by the clinical support organizations located nearby.
These clinics are within Medical Command (MEDCOM) facilities, at contractor-operated sites, and even in university or private research organizations.
The mission of the Public Health Command’s Surety Medicine Program is to assist those clinics in their important occupational and public health mission supporting the Surety program workers. The Surety Medicine Program, within the Occupational and Environmental Medicine (OEM) Portfolio, was created in 2010, after Public Health Command leadership recognized an opportunity to realize significant cost savings to the Army by standing up a program to carry out what had for more than a dozen years been a contracted effort.
The Surety Medicine Program’s staff includes civilian occupational medicine physicians, emergency and occupational health nurses, an occupational health physician assistant and training specialists with critical knowledge and skills that mirror those at the Army’s Surety support clinics. The Program performs compliance assistance visits, supports management reviews for seven Army Commands, Direct Reporting Units, Component Commands, or Agencies, and delivers specialized training to the clinics and health professionals supporting all the Surety programs. In addition, the Program supports policy development at MEDCOM and at Headquarters, Department of the Army, and provides provider-to-provider consultations as well as requested tools, facts sheets and other assistance to the Surety support clinics.
Ahead for the Surety Medicine Program lies work revising the regulatory basis for MEDCOM Surety support, major overhaul of guidance for Surety support clinics, and streamlining the formal continuing medical education offerings for their personnel. This new mission area for the OEM portfolio will keep the Program’s staff very busy for the foreseeable future, as they assist in protecting these special worker populations from their unique hazards and risks, and help the Army with safeguarding some of its more unusual materials, missions, and workers.