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U.S. Navy Medical Team Begins Subject Matter Expert Exchanges in El Salvador

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Katie Cox

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U.S. Navy medical professionals assigned to Southern Partnership Station’s (SPS) Fleet Health Engagement Team (FHET) landed in El Salvador Oct. 3 to participate in subject matter expert exchanges (SMEE) and partner capacity building engagements with El Salvadorian military professionals in La Union as part of SPS 2018.

SPS’ FHET will engage in SMEEs focused on specific topics such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response (HADR) procedures, insect-borne disease prevention, tactical combat casualty care (TCCC), and preventative medicine.

“Subject matter expert exchanges are an important way for us to learn about our partner nations,” said Lt. j.g. Talbeth Cohen, a medical entomologist assigned to SPS’ FHET. “These exchanges help us understand our partner nations and increase our potential for working in a mutually beneficial relationship.”

Following visits to Honduras, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago, this stop marks the final FHET engagement during SPS. The FHET is conducting their final mission stop to work alongside the nation’s military forces. Engagements like these provide useful knowledge for the participants’ future application of practices. 

“We can increase awareness and readiness through medical exchanges,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Roderick Lagunero, a preventative medicine technician assigned to the FHET. “By utilizing shared knowledge and proper techniques, we are able to learn best practices and increase capacity in the areas of operation.”

The FHET’s engagements have the ability to set the tone for future exchanges. By strengthening partnerships and interoperability, they demonstrate a commitment to the region.

“I hope the relationships we have built with individuals in the host countries will have a lasting impact on future operations between the U.S. Navy and the organizations we have worked with in the past months,” said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Austin Jensen, a field medical service technician assigned to the FHET.

Held on an annual basis by U.S. Southern Command and executed by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet, Southern Partnership Station is a U.S. Navy deployment focused on SMEEs with partner nation militaries and security forces in the Caribbean, Central and South America. 

Focused on enhancing cooperative partnerships with regional maritime services, SPS aims to improve operational readiness for all participants. Additionally, the mission will provide an opportunity for U.S. and partner nations to operate in a multinational environment, refine coordination, improve interoperability, and demonstrate flexibility. 

SPS is a demonstration of the strong U.S. commitment to partners in the Caribbean, Central and South America, fostering goodwill and enhancing our collective ability to respond to natural disasters and humanitarian crises. SPS will conclude in October 2018.

For more news about Southern Partnership Station 2018, visit https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/SouthernPartnershipStation2018, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SouthernPartnershipStation/, on Twitter at https://twitter.com/NavySPS/, or on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/southernpartnershipstation/.

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