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News | Aug. 24, 2023

Jamaican-born Airman reconnects with her roots

By Jennifer Whitaker 12th Air Force Public Affairs

A recent medical training mission became an opportunity for one U. S. Airman to give back to the country of her birth.

Senior Airman Oshin Mullings, a physical therapy technician with the 633rd Operational Medical Readiness Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Va., recently traveled to Jamaica as part of an Embedded Health Engagement Team, or EHET, focused on collaborating with Jamaican military healthcare providers. The 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Surgeon General sponsored the medical mission to the Jamaica Defense Forces Medical Center in Kingston to share best practices and boost Jamaica’s military medical readiness, strengthening relationships and building trust with this U. S. partner in the Caribbean, said Maj. (Dr.) Luke Lisherness, a medical director and primary care physician with the 72nd Medical Group at Tinker AFB, Okla., and the EHET mission commander. The three-person U. S. team spent a week with Jamaican healthcare providers, sharing best practices and treating patients together.

For Mullings, who came to the U. S. with her father and siblings at the age of 13, returning to her home country was an opportunity to bring hope and help restore lives by helping patients regain their mobility through physical therapy. During the EHET mission, Mullings cared for patients at the host nation’s military physical therapy clinic by teaching classes, demonstrating physical therapy techniques, and training Jamaican physical therapy staff on best practices. She said the team also sought ways to improve access to medical services for Jamaican military members.

“It has been an honor to be able to give back to the country that gave so much to me as a child,” Mullings said. “Being able to train other Jamaican military personnel on my passion and having the opportunity to help Jamaican soldiers get back to full physical function has pushed me harder to fulfill my desire to become a physical therapist.”

This mission marked the sixth time Mullings has gone back to visit Jamaica since leaving 15 years ago. Previously, she and a friend organized back-to-school charity events that gave backpacks filled with school supplies to more than 250 children.

“Jamaica has given me the foundation and has played a huge role in the woman I am today,” Mullings said. “Additionally, the United States Air Force has opened opportunities for me to be able to give back to my country of birth in a way I could not have imagined. I am grateful to both countries and God, and I will continue striving towards becoming a better woman and Airman.”

Mullings said joining the Air Force presented the perfect opportunity to help others as she realized she wanted more for her life. She encouraged others considering a similar career in Air Force healthcare to pursue their goals.

“Go for it!” she said. “Don’t let doubt or fear get in the way of the possibility of great opportunities and a bright future.”

Medical missions like this one provide tangible benefits for U. S. and partner nation medical teams, Lisherness said. They challenge U. S. military medical teams to work with limited resources in conditions that prepare them to operate in austere environments, while showing them uncommon pathologies to broaden their knowledge base. The innovative EHET approach trains medical personnel to be ready to respond to crises at a moment’s notice, reinventing the way medical teams are built.

“The mutual benefit our militaries gain from working side-by-side in providing medical care goes beyond measure,” Lisherness said. “We are happy to strengthen our relationship with the Jamaican Defense Force and Jamaican people.”

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