Collaboration, Shared Learning Are Key Themes as the Second Annual Warrior Care in the 21st Century Symposium Begins

On Tuesday, October 25, 2016, senior defense leaders and representatives from 14 nations kicked off the second annual Warrior Care in the 21st Century (WC21) Symposium in Tampa, Florida. The three-day event provides an unprecedented platform for international dialogue on programs and policies to aid wounded, ill, and injured Service members, their families, and caregivers.

Photo of a Georgian Ministry of Defense representative looking at a program guide for Warrior Care in the Twenty-First Century

Mr. Paata Patiashvili, Head of the Wounded and Injured Warrior Support Department in the Georgian Ministry of Defense looks through a Warrior Care in the 21st Century symposium program guide during a Work Group breakout session at the October 25-27, 2016 event.

Throughout the past year, partnering nations engaged in work groups focused on Resilience (led by Australia), Recovery and Rehabilitation (led by the United Kingdom), and Reintegration (led by Georgia).  This year’s symposium culminates workgroup progress in discovering collaborative approaches to common issues, lessons learned, and promising research.

In her opening remarks, Dr. Karen S. Guice, acting assistant secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, stressed the importance of international collaboration and shared learning.

“We fight together, and we heal together,” said Guice. “Care doesn’t stop when the wounds heal but extends fully through recovery and reintegration,” she continued. “Sharing our approaches, our research and solving common problems leads to innovative ways to address and solve together. Now is not the time to become complacent or reduce our focus, nor is it the time to limit investments.”

Mr. James Rodriguez, the deputy assistance secretary of Defense for Warrior Care Policy, and WC21 coalition co-chair, acknowledged the valuable discussions among nations sharing a common goal:  provide the best care for wounded, ill, and injured populations.

Dr. Karen S. Guice provides opening remarks.

Dr. Karen S. Guice provides opening remarks on Tuesday.

“All of the work that has been done throughout the year within each work group tells us we are making strides, but there is still much to be done,” said Rodriguez.  “The number of senior leaders and action officers here representing their country shows we are committed as an international group to doing what is best for our Service members and their families.”

Symposium updates, event photos, and highlights can be found on Twitter @WarriorCare and Facebook @WarriorCare and through the #WarriorCare21 hashtag. Additionally, you can view the WC21 video which opened the event and is now available for viewing on YouTube.