JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —
In July 1967, the Fort Sam Houston News Leader post newspaper announced the launching of the most modern and complete medical closed-circuit television system at any military establishment by the Educational Television Division of the Medical Field Service School, or MFSS.
In the six months after its inception in December 1966, the multimedia unit enhanced its staff with experienced civilian and military personnel, coordinated the installation of the closed-circuit TV system in nearly 300 classrooms and Brooke Army Medical Center, or BAMC, facilities, set up a TV maintenance facility, planned future productions with curriculum specialists and completed more than 40 training films.
MFSS-TV’s early years were a blur of activity: in-house television program production started in January 1967; a permanent million dollar color TV system studio by RCA was installed and live daily telecasts were made in 1968; and by 1969, hundreds of training videos and films were being pushed out to medical commands and reserves units annually.
The industry with which MFSS-TV tackled its mission to provide television services for education, training and research purposes to the schoolhouse, BAMC and the Office of the Surgeon General, or OTSG, during its fledging years was to set not only its foundation but production pace for the next five decades.
During the early 1970s, its staff set its sights on expanding production content as well as audience. Their films tackled sensitive subjects such as mental health and race relations.
In 1972, MFSS-TV was renamed AHS-TV as part of the overall reorganization of the MFSS to the Academy of Health Sciences, or AHS.
With the new name came a new vision to take the show on the road with a mobile TV production unit. In 1973, funds were secured to purchase and outfit a 29-foot air-conditioned mobile color television van. The mobile TV production unit covered multiple conferences in its first year alone making AHS-TV’s ability to shoot and transmit from remote locations yet another one of its signature activities.
In 1975, in an effort to centralize all audio-visual functions, the AHS-TV and the Educational Aids Division were consolidated and named the Health Sciences Media Division, or HSMD.
The 1980s saw a reduction of forces throughout the DOD.
In 1983, the HSMD began its assessment of Interactive Videodisc, a forerunner to DVD technology, and produced some of AMEDD’s first roleplaying multi-media training courses. It also opened up a three dimensional multi-media production studio. It's mission expanded to include six Combat Camera teams for rapid deployment to document medical activities during military operations, emergencies and field exercises.
On July 1991, the AHS was re-designated as the U.S. Army Medical Department Center & School and assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Command. The HSMD was then renamed AMEDD-TV.
Throughout the 1990s, AMEDD-TV continued its primary mission to develop audiovisual information products in support of Army Medical Department Readiness Training. This included filming of daily live televised programs, documentaries, and training programs; for-the-record filming of conference proceedings, speeches, briefings, and interviews; as well as pictorial documentation of DOD tests related to medical equipment and medical procedures. Its mobile teams deployed globally.
AMEDD-TV products of the 2000s reflect AMEDD’s role and training during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Video series ranged from basic hands-on trauma management skills for the combat medic to complex lifesaving surgical procedures.
The later 2000s saw the production of the award-winning Battlemind products, audiovisual training tools designed for building soldier resiliency. These products were so effective that they were transitioned from a deployment cycle requirement to standard training Army-wide in 2008.
New streaming technology in the 2000s allowed AMEDD-TV multi-media products to be globally distributed to the medical community via the worldwide web, desktop platforms, and even cell phones.
This month, 50 years since it open its doors, the AMEDD-TV team continues to take the lead delivering high-quality multimedia products to Army Medicine, the warfighter and the military medical community in general.