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05/21/20

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (DOD) COVID-19 MEDICAL SUPPORT TEAM DEPARTS UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL ON MAY 20

On Wednesday, May 20th, University Hospital bid farewell to 85 United States Department of Defense (DOD) healthcare providers who joined the hospital in its response efforts to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in mid-April. The providers are part of the United States Army’s Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces, which has embedded with the hospital’s staff to care for University Hospital patients.

“We were honored to support the people of New Jersey and our fellow Americans during this unprecedented period in our country’s history, and we appreciate the opportunity to have worked with the administration and front-line healthcare heroes at Newark’s University Hospital,” said U.S. Army Maj. Erin Velazquez, commander of the 332-1 Urban Augmentation Medical Task Force, of the 332nd Medical Brigade out of Nashville. “While we move on to our next assignment, we do so with a salute to the countless outstanding medical professionals that saw their communities through the worst of this pandemic.”

As part of a nationwide effort to respond to the public health emergency, and in an effort to help hospitals and medical facilities in some of the states hit hardest by the virus, U.S. Army North mobilized 10 Urban Augmentation Medical Task Forces to the East Coast. Four task forces were dispatched to New York City, three to New Jersey, one to Connecticut, one to Massachusetts and
one to Michigan. The task forces consist of Army Reserve volunteers that were already engaged in the battle against coronavirus in their own communities.

The unit supporting University Hospital, which is capable of providing the equivalent service and support of a 250-bed hospital, included elements of the U.S. Army Reserve 332nd Medical Brigade based out of Nashville, Tennessee. The unit provided 13 doctors, five physician assistants, 13 nurses, four respiratory therapists, 16 medics, eight pharmacists, 18 medical support specialists, and eight administration and supply specialists.

“The University Hospital community deeply appreciates the service these Soldiers provided on behalf of our patients, families, and staff. They left their families and loved ones to rush to the aid
of our hospital, and to the people of New Jersey,” said Shereef Elnahal, MD, MBA, President and CEO of University Hospital. “These soldiers will always be members of our University Hospital family. We wish them well on their next life-saving mission.”

U.S. Army North is headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. ARNORTH is U.S. Northern Command’s theater Army and serves as the Joint Force Land Component Command for all federal ground forces in the United States operating as part of the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 response. The command is also designated as the lead component to work with FEMA to align federal military support to validated requests for assistance.

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