One corps, many skills
By Staff Sgt. Victoria Sneed, 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 07, 2014
HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --
A waiting room, sterile tile hallways, and an exam table greet patients at the 1st Special Operations Medical Group when they arrive for a visit with their medical provider.
That provider may not always be a medical doctor, but could be a physician's assistant assigned to the Biomedical Science Corps.
"When people think of coming to the hospital, they think of doctors, nurses and drugs," said Lt. Col. Marybeth Luna, 1st Special Operations Medical Support Squadron diagnostic and therapeutic flight commander. "We have a whole team who provides care to a patient that some people never see."
Along with physician's assistants, the behind the scenes team here includes; public health specialists, pharmacy technicians, optometrists, laboratory technicians, psychologist, physical therapists, bioenvironmental engineers, radiologist, and social workers. Together, they run the medical mission.
"We fill out the medical service for the wing by bolstering the service the providers give to beneficiaries," said Luna. "The corps also provides preventative health actions to the base populace."
Biomedical science encompasses 18 specialties, and each brings something to the fight, said Lt. Col. David Byer, 1st Special Operations Medical Operations Squadron commander.
Physician assistants see patients, prescribe medication and diagnose patients, much like a medical doctor.
Public heath provides preventative assessments to Airmen including food and public facilities inspections, annual preventative health assessments, medical profiles and hearing assessments for flightline workers. This type of testing can let commanders know if hearing protection put in place is affective and let providers know if there is any hearing loss.
The pharmacy provides medication to allow Airmen to continue or get back into the fight.
Optometrist measure eye health and prescribe any necessary corrective materials, such as glasses.
Laboratory technicians test samples and send results to providers so they may diagnose more accurately.
Psychologists work with Airmen on mental and behavioral issues. This can range from a post-deployment assessment to a shoulder to cry on during stressful situations.
Physical therapists provide training and rehabilitation for injured or recovering members. From teaching stretches to helping Airmen perform exercises to increase motion after an injury or surgery, they help Airman get back in the fight.
Bioenvironmental technicians also provide a type of preventative maintenance to the base including, pre-deployment gas masks fit test, water and ventilation testing, and hazardous material spill response to ensure facilities are healthy work environments.
Radiology technicians provide X-rays, which allow doctors to diagnose internal issue without resorting to surgery.
"All the clinicians and scientists in the BSC are dedicated to their craft," said Luna. "They put forth their best effort to make sure the base populace is healthy."