Saturday, February 18, 2017

Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Officially Opens Naval Dosimetry Center's New Location

BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- The Naval Dosimetry Center (NDC) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the official opening of their new location at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bethesda, Feb. 16. The monthlong move from their former location at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) compound to the new state-of the-art facility onboard NSA was completed Jan. 12. Vice Adm. Raquel C. Bono, director, Defense Health Agency, was the guest speaker for the event. "I'm excited for the opportunity to participate in the ribbon cutting, but I'm just as excited to have a few moments with you to simply say 'thank you,' and to reflect on what you provide for the Navy, Department of Defense, and the nation," said Bono. "We talk a lot about medical readiness being our number one mission in military medicine, and it is. Our ability to project both our hard and soft power in the world depends on sustaining a strong and safe nuclear program. The work you do has a direct effect on our medical security, and the confidence that our Sailors and Marines have to do their job well." Also in attendance were Rear Adm. Terry Moulton, deputy surgeon general of the Navy and deputy chief, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery; Capt. Marvin Jones, commanding officer, NSA Bethesda; Capt. Todd Wagner, commanding officer, Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center; and John Hallworth, Naval Reactors. The opening of this new facility marks an incredible improvement for the NDC staff and its operations. According to Cmdr. Thad Sharp, NDC officer in charge, the new $9 million facility is equipped with new equipment to read thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs). "The facility will also have a state-of-the art information technology infrastructure and network, and will give us the ability to bring the center into the 21st century," said Sharp. "The move has also been a morale booster for the staff. It's exciting to have a new home to call our own and it gives us a fresh start." The five-year initiative, part of the Defense Health Agency's Comprehensive Master Plan for NSA Bethesda, will enable the command to continue providing excellent, centralized dosimetry processing for over 350 Navy and Marine Corps commands worldwide, health physics consultations, advanced technical research, and In Vivo Gamma Spectroscopy services. The NDC, a field activity of the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center, also manages the Department of the Navy's radiation exposure registry program; they've maintained occupational exposure records from approximately 3.9 million ionizing radiation exposures since 1946, analyze trends, and support requests for information regarding radiation exposure. The new facility includes $2 million in new TLD processing machinery, increasing processing capacity by 40 percent and reducing time lost to mechanical failure by 50 percent. The NDC has also invested $2 million in new information technology equipment, more than doubling the NDC's processing efficiency as they continue to grow the exposure registry database. The facility also provides a dedicated laboratory for the science advisor and technical manager to continue making strides in advancing naval exposure monitoring and improving dose algorithms. "This move is much smoother than previous moves at the center, and the facility we are moving to is well equipped to support the mission" said Robert Colter, physical science technician and long-time employee of the NDC.

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