The relationship between the D.C. National Guard and the doctors at the Annotto Bay Hospital is working out harmoniously. By the same token, Colonel Aaron R. Dean II of the Army National Guard explained, “It looked like it was one team. When I walked in I couldn’t tell who was a National Guardsman from the United States, and who worked in the hospital. That’s what we’re going for is that seamless medical treatment. When the patient shows up, they don’t know where you’re from. All they know is that they want medical care, and I think they [the hospital staff] really did a great job with that, seamlessly integrating the people from the District of Colombia in with their staff and allowing them to work together”. Being able to get the work done, Colonel Dean was very happy with his staff.
The Relationship in Teamwork
As expressed by both the Jamaican counterparts and the US team, the relationship has been successful. In order to work with, teach, and learn from Jamaicans, 28 Guardsman had been deployed across 5 sites in Jamaica. At the time that Good News Jamaica caught up with the team they had already impacted over two hundred (200) Jamaicans. From dental care to scrubbing in and assisting with operations, the US/Ja team has been busy trying to get to as many patients as possible. One of the US team of specialists explains how working here in Jamaica has been for her;
With a planning process that started in May of this year, the US team lauded the efforts of the local Ministry of Health for working seamlessly on the process in making this project a reality. Master Seargent James Childs Jr. stated that “even six days before the mission was supposed to start, I had to email documents to the Ministry of Health and they did whatever they could do to help the process along.”, during a briefing with Colonel Dean, The consensus across the US team about the experience arriving and being here, has been rough at times but, overall positive.
A Sustainable Relationship
Dr. Issac Brown, Parish Manager of the St. Mary Health Services, was all smiles about the efforts made by the joint team at his parishes medical facilities. Accordingly, Dr. Brown was kind enough to give us a tour of the Annotto Bay Hospital and introduce us to key staff that have been partnering with the US team to see and treat as many Jamaicans as possible. Having these programs of collaboration continue to benefit the parishioners.
Good News Jamaica met with Colonel Gregg A. Vigeant, Deputy State Surgeon U.S. Army Medical Department and Senior Advisor to the Executive Leadership and Staff Directorates on medical and safety matters, to get his input as the second in command on the mission. Colonel Vigeant was pleased with observing the relationship between the JDF and the DC National Guard as it unfolded during the mission. His work with U.S. Southern Command helped get this mission going. In addition to this, Colonel Vigeant also worked with Master Seargent James Childs Jr. who took lead coordinating everything with Jamaica. Colonel Vigeant had the following to say;
A first timer, soon to be a seasoned visitor
We also sat with Captain Angela N. Lakey who is a social worker with 9 years in the army. Furthermore, the captain is a member of the operations team behind the scenes making sure everyone has the information, equipment, and mindset to complete the mission in a collaborative manner. Captain Lakey smiled while speaking about Jamaica. She stated, “All of the people we have come in contact with here have been amazing and helpful”. She goes on to signal out the JDF driver who makes sure the team gets some leisure time while on the island. Thanks to Dr. Ryan Jarret for coordinating the recreation. More importantly, Captain Lakey is looking forward to getting back to Kingston to do some of the exciting things she heard about. She also is looking to return on her own within the next 2 years to experience much more.