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NEWS | April 15, 2024

2024 MEDCOE Leadership Program boosts international relations

By Otis Toussaint U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence Public Affairs

The Washington Capitol echoed with the exchange of expertise and camaraderie on April 11 as 16 senior medical officers from Indonesia, Norway, Germany, New Zealand, Denmark, Cameroon, and the United States convened as part of the esteemed Medical Strategic Leadership Program.

Hosted by the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence, located at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, this initiative fosters international engagement, partnerships, and goodwill among accomplished medical leaders.

Originally conceived by former U.S. Army Surgeon Gen. James B. Peake, the program stands as a testament to the commitment of military leaders to navigate the intricate landscape of combined health service support operations. More than a training opportunity, it serves as a platform for forging enduring friendships across borders.

The Medical Strategic Leadership Program, housed within the Leader Training Center at the Academy of Health Sciences, stands at the forefront of addressing strategic-level military medical leadership challenges. With a focus on coalition operations and counter-terrorism efforts, it provides a vital networking environment for military professionals from diverse backgrounds.

Eric Sones, MSLP director, highlights the transformative impact of the program, noting its ability to dispel negative perceptions and offer a nuanced understanding of the United States and its military. Through firsthand experiences and interactions, international officers gain a fresh perspective, transcending stereotypes propagated by media portrayals.

The program spans three weeks, starting in San Antonio before journeying through New York City and culminating in the heart of the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

Participants delve into myriad topics including international law, military-media relations, and health resources management, guided by experts and leaders in their respective fields.

The itinerary includes immersive experiences such as visits to Fort Cavazos, Texas, where insights into medical simulations and deployments are shared, and engagements with congressional and military leadership. The final leg of the journey encompasses briefings at esteemed institutions including the United Nations and the Pentagon, providing a comprehensive understanding of global health initiatives and security challenges.

In addition to these enriching experiences, the participants were guided through significant landmarks in Washington, D.C. They visited the Lincoln Memorial, a symbol of unity and freedom, and Capitol Hill, the epicenter of American democracy. Their exploration was expertly curated by civilian liaison, Jean-Marc Pierre, Senior Congressional Analyst, of the Congressional Affairs Contact Office from the Office of the Surgeon General, whose insights added depth to their understanding of American history and governance.

Beyond the academic rigor, the program offers a rich tapestry of cultural exchange and exploration. The participants embarked on a journey that transcends professional development, fostering lifelong connections and mutual understanding.

As the 16 officers from diverse nations convene in the nation's capital, the Medical Strategic Leadership Program continues to serve as a beacon of cooperation and knowledge exchange, shaping the future of military medicine on a global scale. U.S. officers aspiring to partake in this transformative experience are encouraged to reach out to their Corps chiefs for further information.