EMEDS ~ A unique mission for Forbes
By Senior Airman Emily Alley, 190th ARW Public Affairs
/ Published October 08, 2008
FORBES FIELD ANGB, Topeka, Kan. -- The 190th Medical Group has been recognized for its work with the Expeditionary Medical Support System (EMEDS). Maj Gen Tod Bunting cited the unit's use of EMEDS as one of
the reasons for receiving the AF Outstanding Unit Award for 2006. "The unit's dedication to their state and nation is well documented through their employment of their newest mission - EMEDS+25," he said.
The 190th is the only deployable ANG unit that serves domestic EMEDS missions. "I call it a hospital in a box," said Chief Master Sgt Howard Steanson, Medical Group Superintendent. EMEDS is the same deployable medical facility that is used at many overseas bases before a permanent one can be built.
The Medical Group distinguished itself in 2005 by deploying to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, in support of Hurricane Katrina relief. EMEDS+25 is the highest level of medical response and is designed to treat a population of 3000-5000. The package includes radiology, pharmacy, dental and physical therapy as well as all the services of a community hospital, which made it ideal for the Katrina mission.
The hurricane relief efforts demonstrated the value of mobile, readily available medical services. The idea of a deployable hospital is not new, but the concept of using it for homeland defense, as was the case in Katrina relief, is innovative. "Katrina had everything to do with this becoming a viable, needed mission," said Steanson.
The Medical Group has been training for EMEDS deployment for the past six years, but the newer, domestic mission is still in development. "We are just in the beginning stages of getting it up and running," said Steanson. Eventually, there will be three
domestic response units, with Kansas serving as the "EMEDS Central." The other two units will be the 141s t in Spokane, Washington, and the 111th in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, which will both train in Kansas before serving the mission in their home states.