Celebrating 'behind-the-scenes' medical workers

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Cortney Paxton
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
During some point of every year, Airmen on Malmstrom Air Force Base pay a visit to the clinic on base. Whether they're getting a scheduled vaccination, blood drawn or even seeing a physician for a common cold, there are many people they're likely to run into. But the people they're interacting with have an army of 'behind-the-scenes' workers that are a big part to making their jobs successful; most of these workers and their support staffs are a part of the Biomedical Sciences Corps.

While not all BSC members at Malmstrom are working behind closed doors, a greater portion of them keep the clinic running smoothly without working directly with patients.

"Usually when individuals think of coming to the medical clinic they think of seeing their doctor or maybe the dentist," said Lt. Col. Samantha Timm, 341st Medical Operations Squadron Mental Health Flight commander and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program manager. "They don't often think of all of the other areas within the medical clinic that support the overall health of the individual. In many ways we are like the preventative maintenance on a vehicle or an aircraft; you don't really think about the importance of the maintenance until something goes wrong."

According to "Hands Across Time" by retired Col. Rocky D. Calcote, the BSC dates all the way back to Jan. 28, 1965, after implementation of Special Order CA-5. Prior to this, the medical career fields were separated amongst several corps including the Medical Services Corps, which all BSC career fields fell under. It wasn't until Col. Alvin F. Meyer Jr., a bioenvironmental engineer, developed a concept in which scientific and engineering elements of the MSC would be managed separately.

This coming week is the perfect time for members of Team Malmstrom to find these hard workers and pat them on the back. March 11 through 15 marks this year's BSC Week celebrating all of these medical professionals with their enlisted and civilian support staff.

The following are 10 of the 18 distinct career fields within the BSC that the Malmstrom Clinic offers:

· Biomedical Laboratory
· Bioenvironmental Engineering
· Clinical Psychology
· Clinical Social Work
· Dietetics
· Optometry
· Pharmacy
· Physical Therapy
· Physician Assistant
· Public Health

According to Timm, most corps in the Air Force are based around similar training. The BSC is unique in that it covers a wide range of distinct specialties; each of these specialties having a specific function and set of skills relative to it. As a whole, all of these fields work hand-in-hand with each other to make the entire corps successful.

"I would describe the BCS as a melting pot," said Capt. Julie Carpenter, 341st Medical Support Squadron pharmacist. "I think that diversity is our strength because with our many different backgrounds and specialties we are able to provide a large base of scientific and clinical medical practice expertise ... each of the career fields brings a different perspective and a different set of knowledge and skills that when used together can result in outstanding patient care."

"There would be a huge shortfall if one or all of the BSC [fields] was not present," said 1st Lt. Stacy Knutson, 341st MDOS family medicine physician assistant. "We are integral to all aspects of patient care and even to deployment medicine."

The importance of each BSC member, as well as the corps as a whole, could be easily understated due to the "behind-the-scenes" nature of most of their jobs. Members of Team Malmstrom are encouraged to keep these individuals in mind during their trips to the clinic and help them all celebrate this upcoming week.