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News | May 23, 2024

U.S. Army Medical Corps chief hosts leadership professional development briefing at Walter Reed

By Bernard Little, Office of Command Communications

“We have to be our best on their worst day,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Clinton K. Murray in discussing the care military health care providers must give service members and other beneficiaries of the Military Health System (MHS) every day.

Murray, the commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence and chief of the U.S. Army Medical Corps (AMC), provided an update of the corps during a leadership professional development briefing at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on May 15, 2024.

An internist and infectious disease physician, Murray became the 25th AMC chief in November, after serving as the commanding general of Medical Readiness Command, Europe, command surgeon of U.S. Army Europe-Africa, and director of Defense Health Agency Region-Europe. He also served in multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, and he continues to serve as a professor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

The MHS faces challenges that include the need for more nurses, a physician shortage, provider burnout, and suicides, but it must remain ready to care for service members injured downrange and deployed around the globe, Murray explained. He added that "the nature of war isn't changing, [but] the character of war is [changing], and it’s changing rapidly." He cited the increased use of drones, cyber weapons, information warfare, and other technology in a number of conflicts throughout the world. “We need to continually innovate in crises and conflict.”

He cautioned against moving too much into the virtual space regarding telemedicine, explaining that this could impact patient care along with readiness.

Operational medicine that is revolutionary and adaptable, as well as globally integrated, must include “reliable, safe, and quality” patient care, education and training, and research and innovation, Murray added.

He said that the way ahead for the AMC includes a focus on increasing case complexity, promoting skills, retention, and enhancing the practice environment.

Murray also explained it is important for providers to have the right balance in their lives to help prevent burnout. He shared that this includes spending time with family and friends, scheduling “me time,” proper rest, addressing stress, and having a good diet and exercise.

Upon assuming command of the AMC, Murray stressed that he thinks the most important thing that service members know is, “… if someone calls out for a medic, the next thing they will see is someone low crawling or sprinting to the sound of need surrounded by the sound of gunfire. And that person is going to save a life; that person is going to save a limb; that person is going to conserve fighting strength.”
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