U.S., Vietnam Establish Formal Military Medical Partnership
From U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs
HANOI, Vietnam - Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson, Jr. participated in a signing ceremony Aug. 1 with the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense.
Representing the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Robinson signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) on Military Medical Cooperation with Senior Colonel Vu Quoc Binh, director general of the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense's Military Medical Department. U.S. Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Claire Pierangelo and Vietnam's Deputy Minister of National Defense Lt. Gen. Le Huu Duc witnessed the signing.
The signing ceremony represented progress on one of the key areas of military cooperation that former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Minister of Defense Phung Quang Thanh agreed to pursue in October 2010.
The SOI builds on a long trend of cooperation between the U.S. and Vietnamese militaries and will be the foundation for all future military medical and interagency medical engagements that will include subject matter expert exchanges, workshops, conferences, Medical Civil Action Projects (MEDCAPS), clinical exchanges, and medical research collaboration.
"This is an important day between our two nations," said Pierangelo. "This growing military medical partnership will benefit the U.S. and Vietnam and also contribute to increasing our health cooperation in the region."
According to Robinson, this historic agreement is the culmination of over three years of diplomatic visits and discussions and begins a bright future regarding the medical opportunities between the two countries.
"This historic bilateral agreement is not about personalities or politics," said Robinson. "Medicine and medical research are universal languages that all countries and cultures understand. Diseases affect us all in the same way. By working together in areas such as infectious disease research, we not only help each other, we help the world meet these global health challenges."
The foundation for this historic agreement began with a meeting between Robinson and Vietnamese Lt. Gen Chu Tien Cuong, who was then the director of the Military Medical Department of Vietnam, at the annual Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS) conference in St. Louis in November 2009. During their initial meeting, they discussed opportunities to increase military medical collaboration between the U.S. and Vietnam. Numerous follow-on diplomatic meetings and discussions followed culminating in the agreement to formalize a military medical partnership.
Robinson participated in the signing ceremony while visiting Hanoi to co-chair a planning conference on bilateral military medical cooperation with the Vietnamese Ministry of Defense. Topics of discussion will include Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response, infectious disease research, aerospace and undersea medicine and more.
As the Navy Surgeon General and Chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Robinson leads 63,000 Navy Medicine personnel who provide healthcare support to the Navy and Marine Corps, their families and veterans in high operational tempo environments, at expeditionary medical facilities, medical treatment facilities, hospitals, clinics, hospital ships and research units around the world.