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Tracey Koehlmoos

Tracey Koehlmoos on working as a policy adviser in the US Marines

29 Sep, 15 | by BMJ

traceykoehlmoosAnd so…after two years and seven months at the Pentagon as the Special Assistant to the Assistant Commandant and Senior Program Liaison for Community Health Integration in the United States Marine Corps, I moved on without fanfare to a new position with an equally long title within the Department of Defense. It was a tremendous opportunity to serve a great leader and to work with “the few, the proud, the Marines.” I learned a great deal about their health systems, research, and policy challenges, and before moving on and beginning to focus exclusively on the new position, I would like to share what I did because there are so many questions about “what does a special assistant/policy adviser do?” more…

Tracey Koehlmoos: CARE-ing for wounded warriors

30 Dec, 14 | by BMJ

traceykoehlmoosFrom 4-6 December 2014, I had the good fortune to attend the 5th Annual Comprehensive Advanced Restorative Effort (C.A.R.E.) Summit at the Naval Medical Center, San Diego (NMCSD). I travelled to California and attended with representatives from the Medical Officer of the Marine Corps and the Navy Bureau of Medicine, and healthcare representatives of the Marine Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regiment.

The summit was hosted and organized by the CARE Program team, some of whom I had met during their previous visits to Washington, DC, including CARE founder Captain (Dr) Craig Salt, US Navy and program director, and Commander (Dr.) Pete Shumaker, US Navy. more…

Tracey Koehlmoos: Regenerative medicine—where miracles and science overlap

17 Jul, 14 | by BMJ

traceykoehlmoosRegenerative medicine. I did not know it existed until I began working with the Marine Corps. Even writing “regenerative medicine” reminds me that I am not in Bangladesh anymore, trying to produce miracles by scaling up a 20 cent zinc intervention aimed at every child under the age of 5 with diarrhea, or figuring out the best way to get the simplest forms of primary care to the urban homeless, or strengthening access to vaccines. For a health systems scientist, it is a bit of a leap of faith to go into a laboratory that works on the discovery end of the research continuum. more…

Tracey Koehlmoos: You’ve come a long way, baby. Really?

18 Mar, 14 | by BMJ

Tracey Koehlmoos March is Women’s History Month in the US, UK, and Australia. 8 March was International Women’s Day everywhere. There are more women prime ministers, presidents, CEOs, and leaders than ever before. More women than men attend college in the US, and since 2008 women have completed the majority of doctoral degrees. However, for all of the talented, hard working women out there, in our everyday lives we are not quite there yet on a number of fronts. The one I would like to discuss is so subtle that it is the tip of a much larger iceberg.

I hate to complain, but it happened again. Last week when I arrived at a meeting at a super swanky, high profile government research institute, I sat down at a table at which every nameplate had a title: Dr Smith, Colonel Jones, Professor Johnson, except for mine which said, “Tracey Koehlmoos.” more…

Tracey Koehlmoos: Life without health insurance in the US

24 Sep, 13 | by BMJ Group

Tracey Koehlmoos If you are a UK citizen, you probably think we are barbarians. Go ahead and say it, “How can you be a wealthy nation spending so much on healthcare and everyone does not have the right to go to the doctor when they are sick?” I hear this all the time. However, the wheels of change are starting to roll as different elements of the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) are brought to life, although the changes are not without controversy.

According to the US census of 2010, some 49 million Americans do not have health insurance in the United States. Although these are old data—from 2007—we know that approximately 60% of Americans have health insurance coverage through their employer and another 9% directly purchase their health insurance [1]. However, purchasing health insurance is an expensive and optional undertaking so that those who might have insurance have the freedom to turn it down. more…

Tracey Koehlmoos on a national initiative for arts and health in the military

21 May, 13 | by BMJ

Tracey Koehlmoos I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend a national summit on arts, health, and wellbeing across the military on 10 April 2013. It was held at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) just outside of Washington, DC.

I did not know a great deal about creative arts therapies prior to the event so I did some reading. They include creative arts like music, dance, painting, sculpting, poetry, drama, and writing. In the US there is a National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Association ( Their mission is to promote the use of creative arts therapists who use arts modalities and creative processes to ameliorate disability and illness while optimizing health and wellness. The dividing line between art activities and art therapy is that the latter is done by licensed counsellors who seek to use art as a modality for psychotherapy and counselling, as a tool in improving communication and expression, as well as increasing physical, cognitive, and social functioning. So, it is art with a behavioral health component and/or outcome. more…

Tracey Koehlmoos: Research misconduct, actually

2 Apr, 13 | by BMJ Group

Tracey Koehlmoos This month the open access journal with the highest impact factor:  PLoS Med (short for Public Library of Science Medicine) will publish a set of articles on research misconduct.  The main articles are broken down into research misconduct in high-income countries and research misconduct in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).


I am second author on the LMIC article. My excellent co-authors are from Nigeria, China and the UK (the BMJ’s own former editor Richard Smith). There was a fifth co-author who would have brought a lot to the paper, but he/she withdrew from the publication due to concerns about the potential impact on his/her ability to work in his/her home country due to content in the article. Research misconduct can be a touchy subject and not everyone wishes to be part of the debate. more…

Tracey Koehlmoos: Beating on the glass ceiling

5 Mar, 13 | by BMJ

Tracey KoehlmoosIn July 2012, Anne Marie Slaughter, who is a professor at Princeton, resigned from her high profile position as the director of policy planning for the US State Department in Washington in order to spend more time with her teenage sons. Her resignation was accompanied by her well circulated article, “Why women still can’t have it all” in The Atlantic, that discussed the hardships in achieving work-family balance—and perhaps discouraging younger women from trying to “have it all.”

Several other high profile women joined the discussion and there were additional resignations. The struggle to find time to spend with one’s children seems to be a consistent theme in the reasons women resign from government service. To have it all would be to achieve that great career, and that great relationship with a loving spouse and spunky children—all while having a clean house and manicured lawn. more…

Tracey Koehlmoos: Flu season in the US

22 Jan, 13 | by BMJ

Tracey KoehlmoosTo many people in the US, flu season is rather like world cup football is to the rest of us. Flu has been on the front page of many newspapers and has been covered in the television news. It may have been a slow news week after the Christmas and New Year holidays, but everyone I met or overheard was talking about the flu shot and how many people they know have become sick, and for how long, and with what symptoms.

As someone who works in health and got my start working with vaccines, I love it when everyone in the country is talking about things like the effectiveness of this year’s flu shot. Vaccine really is the bread and butter work of global health. There is always a period of public speculation as to whether this year is an epidemic or just a regular flu season. Each week the press and the public eagerly await the Friday release of an update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), called the “flu view.more…

Tracey Koehlmoos: Systematic reviews in international development

13 Dec, 12 | by BMJ

Tracey KoehlmoosThis week I am in rural Savar, Bangladesh, attending the Dhaka Colloquium on Systematic Reviews in International Development. It is always a pleasure to be in Bangladesh, but it is particularly enjoyable to be with so many of my colleagues from ICDDR,B, collaborative partners from systematic review work at 3ie, and the Campbell Collaboration, but also for us to be joined by so many of the 81 students who attended the DfID funded regional capacity building in systematic review programme of work. more…

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