UNMC Called Nation’s Best Biocontainment Resource > Air Force Medical Service > View

  • Published

  • By John Keenan

  • UNMC Strategic Communications

Lt. Gen. Robert Miller, MD, US Air Force and Space Force surgeon general, visited the UNMC in September and called the UNMC the nation’s premier biocontainment resource.

Chris Kratochvil, MD, Distinguished Chairman of the Global Center for Health Security, joined Lt. Gen. Miller on his visit. He said the visit was an opportunity to showcase current collaborations with the US Air Force and consider expanded collaborations.

“This is an extremely valuable and appreciated collaboration,” said Dr. Kratochvil. “The Air Force Surgeon General’s return with a broader cohort of his team members truly illustrates their priority of partnering with us and their interest in expanding this collaboration even further.”

Lt. Gen. Miller said the purpose of the visit was threefold: to learn more about UNMC’s biocontainment efforts, to follow up on the embedded C-STARS team, and “to show our appreciation to all those who worked so hard to get our C-STARS. The Omaha team where it stands today.

Lt. Gen. Miller said the visit “validated that we are truly partnering with the best in biocontainment, and the support goes both ways. It looks like our team is doing great things to support the Nebraska group, but along the same lines, we feel very fortunate to have this partnership with the University of Nebraska.

“We started this partnership journey in 2018, pre-COVID, and we’re very grateful, from a preparedness perspective, that it was already paying dividends,” he said. “This underscores how important it is for Air Force medics to be trained in biocontainment and trained in moving infected patients, as that is the expectation of those we support. We have to be the DOD experts. We still have some opportunities for improvement. We need to train people outside of infectious disease doctors to include our enlistees. All members of our medical team must be ready for the next fight.

That’s why, Lt. Gen. Miller said, the US Air Force is working to improve its biocontainment efforts.

“That must be the Air Force niche. We have to be better than anyone at DOD at airlifting patients, and sometimes that means people who have been exposed to hazardous environments.

“We know as an organization that we can do better with biocontainment. We need to understand how to safely move infectious patients by air, and to get where we want to be, we need to partner with the best. It’s the University of Nebraska for biocontainment.

Lt. Gen. Miller’s visit on September 6 included a presentation by Lt. Col. Elizabeth Schnaubelt, MD, Director of C-STARS Omaha, on the history of C-STARS as well as its infectious disease airlift program.

Lt. Gen. Miller also toured the Global Center for Health Security with James Lawler, MD, as well as the iEXCEL program. He met with National Institute for Strategic Research Executive Director Maj. Gen. (USAF, Retired) Rick Evans and UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, as well as other center leaders medical.

Christine E. Phillips