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MHSRS 2017 draws thousands of researchers from across the globe

Two men in business causal attire look at a research poster. One of them looks to be in the middle of explaining something. Dr. Daniel Perl (front) explains TBI research by CNRM scientists to a conference attendee at MHSRS 2017.  (Image credit: Sharon Holland)
 By Sarah Marshall

More than 150 researchers from USU and countless USU graduates represented the many prestigious minds who attended this year’s 2017 Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS).

The annual event took place Aug. 27-30 in Orlando and brought together scientists and scholars from across the MHS, stimulating conversations and new ideas in an effort to continue advancing research. It’s the nation’s only scientific meeting completely focused on the unique needs of the warfighter.

On opening day, USU President Dr. Richard Thomas gave a presentation on Military Medicine, offering lessons learned on the battlefield. He emphasized the importance of collaborations as key to success in the MHS.  

Dr. Thomas address the room at MHSRS from behind the podium
USU President Dr. Richard Thomas addresses attendees during a session at the 2017 MHSRS meeting.  (Image credit: Sharon Holland)

“The collaboration of scientists, researchers and academicians that come together at this meeting is invaluable,” he said.  He also noted the importance of innovation, of which there was no shortage on display throughout the event.

Thomas explained that virtually all of the major innovations in medicine begin with military medicine, or are rooted in military medicine.  Combat has always been a great catalyst for that innovation, he said. He added that a forum like MHSRS allows researchers to come together and collaborate with one another, including partners in academia and other organizations outside the Department of Defense.

“These meetings are a great opportunity to come together to see what others are working on, and more importantly to set conditions for the future, and potential future collaborations with folks who are working on challenges for our military and our nation,” he said.

A man in a suit address the crowd from the stage at MHSRS. His presentation is on the screen, but hard to see because it is over exposed.
Dr. Matthew D’Angelo, professor in USU’s Daniel K. Inouye Graduate School of Nursing, discusses the development of the Army’s ERST training during a breakout session at MHSRS 2017.  (Image credit: Sharon Holland)

The annual DoD research symposium significantly expanded this year. Abstract submissions were at an all-time high – nearly 2,000 submissions altogether, which is about 26 percent more than in 2016, and a 370 percent increase since 2012.

In addition to numerous breakout sessions and presentations, the symposium included two poster sessions with row upon row of posters on display, highlighting an array of pioneering research.  Throughout the week, USU was well represented with staff giving a number of presentations and displaying research project after research project in the poster sessions.

USU researchers gave presentations on a number of topics including advances in Acute Radiation Syndrome treatment, orthotics and prosthetics, and infectious diseases. Researchers also presented on innovative techniques to effectively screen for traumatic brain injuries, as well as advances in preventing suicide and suicide treatment.  There were also presentations on precision medicine specifically for trauma care, advancements in military women’s deployment health, global health engagement research, prevention of musculoskeletal injury in the military, and developments in wound care.

Three men in suits stand in front of their research posters at MHSRS
Members of USU’s SC2i team participated with a number of research posters at the 2017 Military Health System Research Symposium in Orlando, August 27-30.  (Image credit: Sarah Marshall)

USU scientists were also recognized for their work during the MHSRS 2017 Awards presentations.  Receiving the “Best in Show” award for research poster presentations were a number of USU Surgery and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation faculty members, including Michelle Nordstrom, Annemarie Orr, Dr. Brad Hendershot, Dr. Paul Pasquina, Dr. B. Kyle Potter, Dr. Jonathan Forsberg, and Dr. Chris Dearth.  Their poster was “Service Members and Veterans with Transhumeral Osseointegration: Initial Rehabilitation Experiences from the DoD OI Program at WRNMMC.”

Dr. Chris Dearth also took top honors in Poster Session 1 for his research poster, “Adaptive Vacuum Suspension for Optimal Residual Limb Health and Prosthetic Function.”

USU’s Kate Zeigler took third place in the MHSRS 2017 Young Investigator Competition for her oral presentation, “Clearance of Rabies-Like Lyssavirus Infection via Antibody Therapy Post-central Nervous System Invasion.”