Commander’s Comments: Building community partnerships Published Sept. 14, 2010 By Col. Florencio E. Marquinez 180th Medical Group Commander October 2010 -- The 180th Medical Group has a very challenging role in the Ohio Air National Guard. We are tasked with providing medical support to the wing to "keep the flyers flying", and maintain our wartime skills. We are in a unique position in that most of the medical professionals cannot get sustainment training during a UTA at the 180th. Throughout the years, we have had to send individuals to various active duty bases to complete required training. We have traditionally sent people to Wright-Patterson, AFB and the Veterans Affairs hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We had a training affiliation agreement with the VA hospital in the past. In an effort to save money, work with the local community and complete required training, I had Maj. Gary Easterly start working on a training affiliation agreement with University of Toledo Medical Center in 2007. UTMC is a local teaching hospital located in Toledo about 15 minutes east of the base. The agreement had to clear base legal, go through the guard bureau and go through the legal process of the university. In Aug. of 2009, we received final approval. Then, our personnel had to go through all of the hospital orientation to receive student status in order to work at the hospital. This was achieved and we started sending individuals in May 2010. The agreement allows our medical technicians and nurses to work on UTA days in a civilian emergency room setting. This allows them to receive valuable trauma experience that they cannot get on our base. This partnership with the community is valuable not just for sustainment training but for civilian/military joint response to disasters in the local area or pandemic illnesses that could affect the surrounding communities.