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New MIRROR Program Hosts Meeting to Advance Service Member Care

A physician examines a man's foot
By Sharon Holland

More than 50 military leaders, clinicians, scientists and subject-matter experts within the physical therapy, orthopaedics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and pain management fields converged for the first time for an all-day consensus meeting to help advance service member care and identify best practices within the Army, Navy and Air Force.

The meeting was hosted by the Musculoskeletal Injury Rehabilitation Research for Operational Readiness (MIRROR) program in the Uniformed Services University’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, The Geneva Foundation and the Broussard Family Trust, to validate and endorse existing or commonly agreed upon postoperative physical therapy (PT) guidelines to be shared through the Military Health System and Defense Health Agency.  In addition, the group met to identify research gaps in the area of optimizing postoperative PT guidelines to design, fund, and/or execute future relevant research studies in this field.

Participants came from across the country for the consensus meeting, which resulted in the standardization and approval of 13 protocols for hip, knee, ankle and shoulder injuries.

A group of people working around a table
Participants from across the country worked to standardize and approve new protocols for service member care 
during the recent MIRROR-sponsored consensus meeting. (Courtesy Photo)
"Standardizing musculoskeletal protocols is imperative so that military personnel across the various branches receive the same high-level of treatment to return to duty. While we think of the United States military as a whole, the reality is that ACL surgeries, for example, are performed differently within each treatment facility and branch. MIRROR is focused on streamlining care to optimize operational readiness," said Dr. Paul Pasquina, chair of USU’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

The MIRROR program was established in 2019 to advance musculoskeletal injury (MSI) rehabilitative care and capacity-building within the Military Health System, and reduce the burden of MSI on military readiness. MIRROR supports a broad scope of projects, including epidemiological investigations, pilot trials, and prospective randomized multisite clinical trials, that will enhance Department of Defense efforts in addressing the negative impact that MSI is having on the military.