1. Salcido, Richard "Sal" MD

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This month marks a decade since the horrendous 9/11 attacks on Americans working in New York's "Twin Towers" and the Pentagon, and the heroic diversion of highjacked United flight 93-the day thousands of innocent people were imperiled at the hands of terrorists. Despite the impact of this horrific event, individual and organizational acts of heroism prevailed. Initial responders, firefighters, hospital trauma teams, and burn units raced to assist victims of the attack. Rescue teams toiled in the wreckage, and colleagues from the wound care community were among those who tended to injured rescue workers. The nation was unraveling the attack on our country and moving on to the mourning stage.

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A week following the September 11th tragedies, our conference attendees were scheduled to fly to Lake Buena Vista, Florida, for the 16th Annual Clinical Symposium on Advances in Skin & Wound Care. They did not hesitate to get on the planes. When I arrived at the conference, I was impressed and heartened by how many faculty members and conference participants had gathered the courage to walk onto a plane and travel to this important meeting. Later, as I was talking with a friend from the private sector, I told him about the great turnout we had at the conference. He was surprised. He knew a number of conferences in the private sector had been canceled, and many companies would not allow their employees to fly until the situation stabilized. He remarked that there must be something special about the dedication of skin and wound care professionals that so many were willing to risk their lives to learn how to better care for their patients. This did not surprise me at all. Skin and wound care professionals have traditionally been unfailing advocates for their patients, demonstrating a sense of unwavering commitment and compassion that never fails to impress me.


At this year's Clinical Symposium, September 9 to 12, 2011, at Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center, National Harbor, Maryland, we are fortunate to have as keynote speaker a quintessential leader and renaissance wound care professional: Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum, PhD, MD, US Army. She is a soldier's soldier, a surgeon, a pilot, a former prisoner of war, a medical leader, a mother, and wife. BG Cornum currently is the director of Comprehensive Soldier Fitness in the Army G-3/5/7. She was commissioned into the Army and began a research career in 1978. Assigned to the Letterman Army Institute of Research, she focused on wound healing metabolism and improving liquid blood preservation and transfusion therapy. She completed medical school at the Uniformed Services University and then transferred to the Army Aeromedical Center at Fort Rucker, Alabama, first as chief, Primary Care and Community Medicine, then as chief, Aviation Medicine.


In August 1990, BG Cornum was assigned as the flight surgeon to the 2/229 Attack Helicopter Battalion. During the last week of February 1991, while performing a search and rescue mission for a downed Air Force F-16 pilot, her Black Hawk helicopter was shot down. Five members of her 8-person crew were killed, and BG Cornum and the other survivors were captured by Iraqi forces. She was repatriated on March 6, 1991.


Subsequently, BG Cornum continued her medical education and began urologic surgery training. In 1998, she was assigned as the assistant Deputy Commander of Clinical Services and staff urologist at Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia. BG Cornum took command of the 28th Combat Support Hospital at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on July 25, 2000. She later commanded Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. During this time, the center cared for more 26,000 war heroes, including 5540 battle injuries, evacuated from Iraq and Afghanistan. In June 2005, BG Cornum became the US Army Forces Command Surgeon, Fort McPherson, Georgia, where her responsibilities included casualty care of the deployed force and providing medical expertise to the higher headquarters for all CONUS-based Army Forces.


Among her many decorations, BG Cornum has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (with 4 oak leaf clusters), Purple Heart, Air Medal, and POW Medal. She has written or coauthored a book, 4 book chapters, and numerous scientific articles.


We are most honored to have BG Cornum join us at this year's symposium to share her personal story of strength, perseverance, and dedication to providing medical care to military comrades.


Richard "Sal" Salcido, MD

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Selected Reference


Cornum R, Copeland P. She Went to War. Novato, CA: Presidio Press; 1993.