Retro Journal from Operation Continuing Promise (CP) 2010

The following "Retro Journal" chronicles Dr. Schor's three weeks aboard the USS Iwo Jima as part of Operation Continuing Promise 2010. Dr. Schor was aboard the ship with the goal of assessing the humanitarian assistance and disaster response knowledge of various U.S. medical personnel. The NCDMPH will apply the data collected during the mission, as well as the overarching lessons learned, to domestic disaster response education and training.

Week 4

August 3, 2010

A crew member of Continuing Promise looks up at the USS IWO JIMA as he heads back toward the ship

Heading Back

As we depart Haiti, with our work done for the time being, it's the opportune moment to reflect on everything I've seen and learned on this trip.

Haiti is an absolutely beautiful country; if the buildings, roads and general infrastructure can be improved, there is nothing stopping it from being a tourist destination. The people there are amazing to talk to - through our wonderful translators, whom I had the pleasure of organizing - we were able to have productive and friendly conversations with the Haitians. I'll always remember a particular older gentleman, who after having his eyes fixed by one of our optometrists, told the eye surgeon that he couldn't wait to go home and see his beautiful wife again! It's moments like that which make you realize that every little bit of good we can do is worthwhile.

All in all, I'd say this has been a very successful trip for the people of Haiti and the medical personnel - most of whom were participating in their first humanitarian assistance mission. As it relates to the work that the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health is doing, this was also an important step toward identifying and filling knowledge gaps for these types of missions.

Once I return to Virginia, Becky and I will begin tabulating the results of the surveys. The plan is for LTC Mike Stanley to re-assess the Joint Medical Group's knowledge during the final third of the deployment in October. We will share the results of the survey, our field observations, and our recommendations with the COMNAVSOUTH Surgeon, seeking to provide practical ways to enhance the training value of these missions.

I hope this journal was able to give you, our stakeholders, a small snapshot of the DoD humanitarian assistance mission called Continuing Promise 2010, and the dedicated, hard work of many military medical professionals as health care was provided to our Caribbean neighbors in Haiti. The crew of the ship was amazing, they did a fantastic job of running the USS Iwo Jima. On behalf of Becky and myself, the NCDMPH would also like to thank US Navy Southern Command for the opportunity to participate in the mission. Please continue to visit to our site as we hope to post updates on our work supporting Continuing Promise 2010 and next year's Continuing Promise 2011.

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