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January 25-29 marks Biomedical Sciences Corps Appreciation Week.

group photo of military members

39th Medical Group personnel apart of the Biomedical Sciences Corps, pose for a group photo at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Jan. 22, 2021. As most of the diverse officer corps in the Air Force Medical Service, the BSC is made up of 17 distinct specialties. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Cook)

military medical physician inspect another member's ear

Capt. Whitney Patrick, 39th Medical Group physician assistant, inspects the ear of Capt. Beau Taylor, 39th MDG physician assistant at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Jan. 22, 2021. Capt. Patrick has taken on the role of lead medical officer of the COVID-19 working group and is one of the 39th MDG’s vaccine subject matter experts. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Cook)

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --

During Biomedical Sciences Corps week, Jan. 25-29, the U.S. Air Force honors the achievements of the men and women who comprise BSC.  

The corps is made up of a team of about 2,400 officers and is supported by 5,800 enlisted members in parallel career fields.

As the most diverse officer corps in the Air Force Medical Service, the BSC is made up of 17 distinct specialties.  At the 39th Air Base Wing, there are 14 experts from 10 of those career fields: Optometry, Clinical Psychology, Clinical Social Work, Bioenvironmental Engineering, Public Health, Dietitian, Pharmacy, Clinical Laboratory, Physical Therapy and Physician Assistants.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the BSC career fields within the 39th MDG have taken on vital roles, which has been critical in minimizing the impact of the pandemic on base personnel and the mission.  Two of those career fields include public health and bioenvironmental engineering.

Since the beginning of the pandemic and throughout, Incirlik’s Public Health team has ramped up its efforts to mitigate the effect on Airmen and civilians here.

“Public Health stops the spread of the virus by breaking the chain of infection,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Schnegg, 39th Medical Group Public Health flight chief. “This is done by isolating positive members, performing contact tracing on them to see who they could have potentially exposed and to quarantine those that meet our criteria for exposure risk. We also help organize surveillance testing for the base to help identify those who are infected but possibly asymptomatic.”

Like public health, Incirlik’s bioenvironmental engineering team has continued to do its part in protecting the people who take care of the mission.

 “Bioenvironmental Engineering’s (BE) role in the fight against the pandemic is to make sure that all medical personnel that come in contact with COVID patients are fitted appropriately for respirator protection to include the use of N-95 respirator and personal protective equipment”, said Maj. Francis Katumba, 39th MDG bioenvironmental engineering flight commander. “Bioenvironmental Engineering has a vital role to approve use of disinfectant products used in high traffic areas such as the passenger terminal, commissary, and restaurants. Also, BE provides manpower support during COVID vaccination operations and contact tracing at several facilities on base.”

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

This adage is especially true in the current environment and it’s thanks to the medical professionals in BSC careers whose preventative actions continue to mitigate the spread of the virus.  

Please join the 39th MDG in celebrating and recognizing the cutting-edge Biomedical Sciences Corps and the contributions of these medics that have had direct impact on improving health, maximizing performance and providing trusted medical care to support our most vital resource, our Airmen.