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September 16, 2020

Combating the Peacetime Effect in Military Medicine

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Traumatology, Surgical Critical Care & Emergency Surgery, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 2Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 3US Army Trauma Training Detachment at Ryder Trauma Center, Miami, Florida
  • 4F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA Surg. Published online September 16, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2020.1930

The drawdown of combat operations in Syria and a new peace agreement in Afghanistan compel consideration of how military medicine should function during this time of lower combat intensity. Coming home evokes a sense of relief in those who bear the burden of war. However, as highlighted in the lay press and medical literature, return to a period of relative peace also has the insidious effect of eroding the skills needed to manage the first casualties of the next war.1,2 We have coined this phenomenon the peacetime effect.

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