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Melting pot of the medical group

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. BreeAnn Sachs
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs

White coats, stethoscopes, nurses and doctors are a few of the most identifiable symbols and careers in the medical community.

While these are prevalent in every hospital and medical clinic in the Air Force, there is a subset of equally hard-working medical professionals that are often overlooked.

“The Biomedical Science Corps is one of five corps in the Air Force Medical Service; the remaining four include the Medical Corps for doctors, Nurse Corps, Dental Corps and Medical Service Corps for administrators,” said Lt. Col. Elisa Hammer, 49th Medical Group Biomedical Engineering flight commander. “There are a total of 48 BSC officers and enlisted members spread across three squadrons at Holloman. Additionally, we have support from 23 civilians and contractors and 26 volunteers.”

The BSC is known as the most diverse corps in the AFMS, and includes 17 unique specialties:
Physical therapy
Physician Assistant
Audiology and speech pathology
Clinical psychology
Clinical social work
Occupational therapy
Aerospace physiology
Biomedical science 
Bioenvironmental engineering
Public health
Biomedical laboratory

“The BSC a melting pot of medical (specialties) that do not fit anywhere else,” said Maj. Rebecca Bird, 49th MDG laboratory flight commander. “We have a science side and a clinical side, and our picture is kind of chaos – we are everywhere.”

Holloman’s highly-specialized BSC team affects nearly every aspect of the base.

“We bring our specialties to the warfighter by maximizing human health and performance, delivering safe food and drinking water and by ensuring a healthy work environment with added protection from chemical, biological, physical and radiation hazards,” said Hammer. “We rehabilitate through physical therapy and mental health programs, we promote health, fitness and diet, examine eyes and visual systems, assist physicians in patient care and by aiding in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases through medical laboratory tests and dispense prescriptions for the active duty, retired and dependent communities.”

The BSC was created in 1965 when the AFMS removed scientific and engineering personnel from the Medical Service Corps, combining them with the Medical Specialist Corps. Today, they provide mission-essential services to 81 installations globally, are comprised of 2,400 officers and are supported by 5,800 enlisted members.

The AFMS honors the men and women of the BSC annually during the last week of January, and 2019 marks the 54th year of celebration.

It is important to recognize the BSC career fields and their contributions to the wing, the 49th MDG and the AFMS overall,” said Hammer. “We are critical to the AFMS, and are proud to bring our services to Airmen and their families.”