Originally created 06/26/02

Change of command



The new commanding general of medical operations at Fort Gordon and the Southeast Regional Medical Command is upbeat about the future of Army medicine in Augusta.

Brig. Gen. Eric B. Schoomaker says he can't predict how well Eisenhower Army Medical Center will fare in future military hospital closings, but he sees it as an "enormously strong Army and military medical center."

Brig. Gen. Schoomaker replaced Maj. Gen. Darrel R. Porr on June 11.

Eisenhower and the Southeast Regional Medical Command serve the military in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina.

"So Forts Jackson, Stewart, McPherson, Fort Benning, Georgia; Atlanta, headquarters of Forces Command 3rd Army; and the Alabama Army installations all look to us for the lead in coordinating care, training and deployment for this entire region," he said Tuesday.

The center also coordinates health care for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Puerto Rico, Latin America and Canada, Brig. Gen. Schoomaker said.

"In addition, Fort Gordon, because it's the signal center, because of its expertise in signal technology, has attracted training for Army medics," Brig. Gen. Schoomaker said.

"We have here one of the very few regional training sites for the reserves. The Reserve Training or RTS Med Site ... brings reservists anywhere from east of the Mississippi to train on deployable medical equipment."

Every year, tens of thousands of reservists are trained at Fort Gordon on equipment they would use in war. The medical center also is the site of the Center for Total Access for military medicine.

"Emerging technologies and virtual imagery, computer-assisted training on mannequins and the like are enabling us to train individuals or teams of individuals, reserve and active, in all kinds of management of combat casualties or casualties as a consequence of a terrorist act," Brig. Gen. Schoomaker said.

Eisenhower also trains physicians, nurses and enlisted medical technicians.

"We have reached out in your local university, the Medical College of Georgia, and the VA Medical Center, to join in a very aggressive, very pro-active partnership with Eisenhower to share resources, to include its expertise, its people, its space and to share ideas in our patients for improved care," he said.

Brig. Gen. Schoomaker, 53, holds a medical degree and a doctorate in human genetics from the University of Michigan Rackham School of Graduate Studies. He has held a wide variety of assignments. Before coming to Fort Gordon, he commanded the 30th Medical Brigade, which has headquarters in Heidelburg, Germany.

Reach Sylvia Cooper at (706) 823-3228 or sylviaco@augustachronicle.com.