by Tech. Sgt. Matthew McGovern
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs
11/15/2012 - BEIJING, China -- At
the invitation of China's People Liberation Army, U.S. Air Force
medical physicians, along-side their Chinese military and civilian
counterparts, conducted a first-ever Medical Acupuncture and Battlefield
Medicine Subject Matter Expert Exchange in Beijing, China Oct. 21-27.
The exchange, attended by seven U.S. representatives from the Air Force
Medical Service, civilians from the National Intrepid Center of
Excellence, and more than 30 PLA members, was an effort to help
U.S.-China militaries increase mutual trust and understanding while
sharing practices in traditional Chinese medicine.
"The sessions were friendly, informative and far-reaching in their
scope," said Lt. Col. Gregory Sweitzer, Pacific Air Forces Clinical
Quality and Innovation chief from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. "The
enthusiasm and camaraderie that emerged from this exchange was clearly
palpable and led to a series of discussions that extended outside the
conference rooms and into the break room where genuinely enthusiastic
inter-personal exchanges took place."
The exchange was held at three separate locations: a military hospital,
university of medicine and a traditional Chinese medicine clinic. The
different venues allowed the group to explore each other's acupuncture
techniques, operational medicine issues, and acupuncture research. The
group also focused on ways acupuncture remedies hypertension, diabetes,
obesity, stroke, chronic pain, as well as gynecological complaints.
At the military hospital, where the Americans were greeted with
prominently displayed U.S.-China banners and multiple cameramen,
discussions included acupuncture treatment of battlefield injuries,
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and treatment of
pain associated with amputations.
"We were treated very graciously [by our Chinese counter parts] and our
hope is that we can have future exchanges in acupuncture and other
medical exchanges with the PLA and civilian counterparts to learn more
from them and them from us," said Sweitzer.
The Chinese physicians formed a similar opinion regarding the exchanges.
"The exchange [facilitated] Sino-U.S. friendship, enhanced relations,
and I hope communications," said Col. Lou Yongchang, PLA Air Force
Aviation Medicine Branch director.
Sweitzer remains optimistic about further relations with his Chinese counterparts.
"We believe this visit truly enhanced U.S.-China military-medical
relations, particularly with regard to the provision and utilization of
acupuncture in our respected militaries. In fact, our group has already
identified some prospective topics and workshops that could provide the
framework for a second U.S.-China exchange," said Sweitzer.
Pacific Air Forces conduct subject matter exchanges throughout the
pacific to collaborate with other professionals and assist with
communications across various military disciplines. Dialogue and
exchanges are designed to promote stable military-to-military
relationships by reducing misunderstanding, misperception, and
miscalculation through increased communication and interaction.