The AFIRM Traveling Exchange Program
From left to right: Cmdr. Eric Elster, Col. Barry D. Martin, Maj. Kenneth Nelson, Cmdr. Mark E Fleming, Dr. Rocky Tuan, Co-director for the Wake Forest – Pittsburgh Consortium; Mr. Terry Irgens, director of the AFIRM; and Lt. Col. Daren Danielson
Col. Barry Martin and Cmdr. Mark Fleming on a lab tour with Dr. Joachim Kohn.
The Armed Forces Institute Regenerative Medicine Traveling Exchange Program (AFIRM TEP) was initiated in July 2011. Its primary mission is to bring AFIRM academic researchers and military clinician scientists together to share regenerative medicine knowledge exchange and foster peer relationships among military and civilian researchers and clinicians. To accomplish this mission, AFIRM TEP attempts to actively engage military experts in the regenerative medicine program. Five military clinical scientists, Col. Barry D. Martin, TEP fellow; Maj. Kenneth Nelson, TEP fellow; Cmdr. Eric Elster, TEP fellow; Cmdr. Mark E. Fleming, TEP fellow; and Lt. Col. Daren Danielson, TEP fellow, traveled to each of the named institutions of the AFIRM consortia: Wake Forest University, University of Pittsburgh, Rutgers University, and Cleveland Clinic. The AFIRM consortia members shared details of their research and clinical trials efforts aimed at addressing the needs of Wounded Warriors. Military clinical researchers offered first-hand knowledge of the needs, challenges, and constraints they encounter in managing severe combat injuries, as well as the academic research capabilities within the military medical community. As a result of the TEP program, more than half a dozen new collaborations are in discussion between the AFIRM investigators and military clinician scientists, a testament to the success of the TEP.