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  • Marine Corps Science Advisors Tour NHRC’s Warfighter Performance Department

    SAN DIEGO—Staff at the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) provided a tour and overview of the center’s research capabilities and physical assets to the science advisors from U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command (MARFORCOM), II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), and III MEF, Aug. 3.


    The science advisors are personnel from the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Global who embed within Navy, Marine Corps, and joint commands to serve as their senior science and technology representative. Science advisors communicate fleet concerns and operational requirements back to ONR and the Naval Research Enterprise to help shape future research and development investments. They also help bridge the gap between existing research capabilities and current operational needs.

    “We have a diverse research portfolio that covers physical and cognitive performance, psychology, and rehabilitation,” said Cmdr. Shawn Soutiere, head of the Warfighter Performance Department at NHRC. “Our research, development, testing, and evaluation capabilities contribute to a Marine Corps that is physically and mentally ready to handle the demands of combat operations while reducing musculoskeletal and combat injury risk.”
    The tour focused on NHRC research efforts that impact Marine Corps personnel, including:
    ·         Combat readiness
    ·         Stress resilience
    ·         Biomechanical and human performance analysis of next generation personal protection equipment (PPE)
    ·         Fatigue surveillance and mitigation
    Among the highlights of the tour was a demonstration of the Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN), an immersive virtual reality system made up of a 9-foot diameter platform with integrated treadmill and 180-degree wide, 9-foot tall curved projection screen. The CAREN is used for studies related to survivability, equipment loads, rehabilitation, and fatigue.
    Additionally, the science advisors visited NHRC’s Sleep and Fatigue Lab and the Environmental Chamber, a large structure that can simulate environments with temperatures ranging from -23°F to 130°F and relative humidity from 5-90 percent humidity. These specialized labs and tools are all housed alongside the CAREN within the Warfighter Performance Department.
    According to Soutiere, having all of these cutting-edge research capabilities under one roof enables a wide range of possibilities for current and future studies. For instance, assessing the effects of fatigue on operational tasks related to driving can be supported by both the Sleep Lab and the CAREN, using the custom built driving simulator designed by NHRC staff.
    “The opportunity to meet with the science advisors and familiarize them with our research capabilities and subject matter experts means that when MARCOM and MEF leadership has a need or concern related to warfighter performance, they will know how NHRC can partner with them to provide solutions,” said Soutiere.
    As the DoD’s premier deployment health research center, NHRC’s cutting-edge research and development is used to optimize the operational health and readiness of the nation’s armed forces. In proximity to more than 95,000 active duty service members, world-class universities, and industry partners, NHRC sets the standard in joint ventures, innovation, and translational research.
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