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Public Affairs Office title

U.S. Army Soldier & Biological Chemical Command
U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012

Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
(508) 233-5340
amssb-opa@natick.army.mil

Date: September 9, 2002
No: 02-42

Soldier medical research facility opens at Fort Bragg

NATICK, Mass. -- Brig. Gen. William C. Fox, director of Health Services at Fort Bragg; Col. David L. Maness, commander, Womack Army Medical Center; and Col. John P. Obusek, commander, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM) today jointly announced the opening of the USARIEM/Womack Medical Research Facility (UWMRF) at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Obusek presided over the official opening, which included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, remarks by Fox and Maness, poster sessions with principal investigators and tours of the 5,000 square foot facility. The UWMRF is equipped with more then 40 pieces of aerobic, weight bearing and other equipment for test and physical evaluation studies. This space also includes a classroom with capacity for 25 and four offices. It is located on the ground floor of the Womack Army Medical Center.

Although USARIEM's principal facilities are located at Natick, Mass., Obusek has led the initiative to take a more innovative approach to conducting studies that affect soldier safety and performance by bringing the capacity to do medical research in settings closer to soldiers.

"Our mission is to perform soldier-related medical research that will directly benefit soldiers assigned to Fort Bragg, and the U.S. Army in general," Obusek said. "This facility brings us closer to real-world problems, where our scientists can make life better for our soldiers. Today we are taking a new direction to closely link our scientific studies to specific field problems. I am delighted to have this opportunity to work with Fox, Maness, and the unit commanders at Fort Bragg."

Also during the opening ceremonies, Fox said, "We are very pleased to welcome USARIEM to Womack. This new facility will give us the capability to conduct important medical research here at Fort Bragg, home of the Airborne and Special Operations."

Maness said, "I am very proud of the work we have already done together to make this new initiative a reality here at WAMC. Obusek and his team have our complete support and we are looking forward to collaborating with USARIEM on studies planned for this new facility."

Obusek announced that Lt. Col. Mark Vaitkus will be the incoming chief of the UWMRF. Additional staff includes Richard Carr, project coordinator, and Sheila Talley, research analyst.

USARIEM is a subordinate laboratory of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), with principal operations located at Fort Detrick, Md. The institute's mission is to conduct basic and applied research to determine how exposure to extreme heat, severe cold, high terrestrial altitude, occupational tasks, physical training, deployment operations, and nutritional factors affect the health and performance of military personnel.

The Womack Army Medical Center is a state-of-the-art medical facility that is responsible for providing health care to one of the largest Army posts in the world. With nearly 1 million square feet, WAMC serves more than 160,000 eligible people. The complex includes a six-story inpatient tower, a three-story ancillary building and a two-story clinical wing, with a variety of specialty clinics and diagnostic centers.

For more information about this joint venture, please contact USARIEM in Natick, Mass., at 508-233-5027, www.usariem.army.mil; Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, N.C., at 910-907-7247/9922, www.wamc.amedd.army.mil; or the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Fort Detrick, Md., at 301-619-2736, https://mrmc.detrick.army.mil/.

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