Defense Institute for Medical Operations marks 20 years of delivering international medical training, support

  • Published
  • By Jeremy Dunn
  • Air Force Research Laboratory Public Affairs
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AFRL) — The Defense Institute for Medical Operations, or DIMO, will mark 20 years of delivering medical courses supporting U.S. embassy and combatant command strategic objectives in October 2022. DIMO was created in 2002 when the Air Force Institute for Global Health merged with the Navy’s Defense Healthcare Management Institute and is located at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.
DIMO is a geographically separated unit of the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, or USAFSAM, in its International Education Department. USAFSAM supports DIMO’s mission in many ways, including IT support, finance services and personnel to the institute.
Recent courses taught by DIMO include Tactical Combat Casualty Care training with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Fundamentals of Military and Disaster Mental Health with Mexico and Medical Planning in Peacekeeping Operations with Kazakhstan.
DIMO achieves its mission with the help of a network of volunteer instructors.
“All of our instructors are volunteers, and DIMO has a constant need for subject matter experts,” said Col. Michelle Flores, director of DIMO. “We are constantly trying to build the instructor pool.”
DIMO’s expert instructors include Army, Navy and Air Force personnel and specialists from various U.S. government agencies.
Many resident courses are also offered through the institute. These programs include an Executive Healthcare Resource Management course, an HIV/AIDS Planning and Policy Development course, and a Gender-based Violence Course. The latter courses are designed to bring international military students to the U.S. and introduce them to American culture while providing a robust learning environment for the course curriculum. 
Operating in a global environment that is constantly in flux provides its own unique challenges.
“The biggest challenge DIMO faces operationally is the constantly changing global landscape,” said Steven Ferrell, deputy director at DIMO. “Communication takes time and effort.”
When working with international organizations, conditions on the ground can change at any time.
In these situations, priority when providing training support is “making sure the training is understood, and there is no duplication,” Ferrell said.
As coronavirus travel restrictions and other limitations lighten, DIMO is experiencing increased demand for its services.
“Our mission operations tempo is increasing,” said Flores. “We are reaching pre-[COVID-19] levels and regaining growth and mission demand.”
In the near future, the institute expects to increase its resident course offerings. DIMO has partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services to create a course on disaster planning and mitigation anticipated to be offered in 2023.
For information on volunteer opportunities with DIMO, go to
About AFRL
The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit