Endrusick (right), U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental
Medicine (USARIEM), briefs William Howell (center), director,
U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), and
other USAMRMC Commander's Workshop attendees, on the Biophysics
and Modeling Lab Sept. 19. USARIEM hosted the Workshop which ran
from Sept. 18-20 in Natick, Mass., and was attended by more than
50 command leaders and senior enlisted advisors. (Photo by Sarah
Click for Larger Photo
NATICK, Mass. -- On Sept. 18-20, the U.S. Army Medical Research and
Materiel Command (USAMRMC) Commander's Workshop was held in Natick,
Mass., with more than 50 command leaders and senior enlisted
advisors participating. Hosted by the U.S. Army Research Institute
of Environmental Medicine (USARIEM), the event included a number of
Several presentations were focused on improving management
practices, such as: "Business Development and Partnering," a
"Contracting Update," and "Lean Six Sigma Projects from Commands."
Training was another area emphasized with "Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury Chain Teaching/Fiscal Year 08
Training Guidance," and "R&D Core Competencies and Competency
Management; and DTRA/BRAC/Discussion on Long-Term Solution of
On Sept. 19, after overviews on USARIEM and the Natick Soldier
Research, Development and Engineering Center, the group had an
opportunity to visit unique facilities at USARIEM, located on the
U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center installation in Natick.
The tour included stops at the Doriot Climatic Chambers, the
Altitude Chamber, the Biophysics and Modeling Lab, the Cold Research
Lab, the Center for Military Biomechanics Research, and the
As the visitors were standing in the Tropic Chamber side of the
Climatic Chambers receiving a briefing about the Chambers and the
range of temperatures they can reach (Arctic Chamber down to 70
degrees F below zero, while the Tropic Chamber up to 165 degrees F),
one member of the group joked, "well, at least we got to visit the
The discussion soon turned serious with a conversation about the
recruitment and retention of human research volunteers (HRVs). HRVs
are Soldiers recruited after their Advanced Individual Training to
participate in studies and evaluations at Natick. Initially
recruited for 90 days, sometimes the arrival and departure of HRVs
can impact studies if there are not enough volunteers available.
Someone from the group mentioned the idea and difficulties with
using civilians, such as medical care and insurance. "There aren't
any solutions yet," said one of the attendees.
While in the Biophysics and Modeling Lab, the visitors got to meet
"Uncle Wiggly," a thermal manikin that lets the researchers at
USARIEM evaluate clothing for thermal and water vapor resistance
properties. Having the information available from the manikin lets
USARIEM create its premier product, predictive models, said Tom
Endrusick, research physical scientist.
After the presentation on the Altitude Chamber, where an actual
study was going on, one of the visitors commented that although he
had visited USARIEM before it was remarkable how the work is
progressing to improve conditions for the Soldier.
"It's amazing how much more has been done that improves [the
Soldier's] quality of life," William Howell, director, USAMRMC,
said. "Even just over the last 10 years."
The last day of the workshop included briefings about the future.
Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, Office of the Surgeon General, spoke
on the "Army Medical Department's Strategic Path Ahead," while the
final event of the day was a discussion on "Commander's Issues,"
that included "Future Positions."
"Hosting the workshop was an excellent opportunity for USARIEM to
showcase and highlight our research areas and capabilities to the
MRMC leadership," said Col. Beau Freund, commander, USARIEM.
"Spending three days together allowed the Command to collectively
address some tough issues and continue to plan and shape our