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Air Force organization at USAFA brings film production to the fight

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By Air Force Center of Excellence for Multimedia Media staff

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — For more than 20 years, an office in the foothills of Colorado Springs has created some of the most comprehensive health education and training programs in the nation.

The Air Force’s Center of Excellence for Medical Multimedia at the Air Force Academy was founded in 1996 by surgeon and retired Col. Kent Murphy under the maxim “Because we’re all patients.”

“This was started in the late 90’s just as computers and the internet were coming together to allow patients to access health information,” Murphy said.

By joining the expertise of leading medical minds, film industry professionals and IT experts, Murphy envisioned up-to-date medical information delivered with cutting-edge production values to patients across the world, to include Airmen and their families at the Academy.

“[I wanted to] help patients and their families more fully understand their medical conditions, the treatment options available to them and any possible consequences of their decisions,” Murphy said.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a patient’s health literacy — their ability to access and understand medical information to make informed health care decisions — directly corresponds to their health.

“From a military perspective, greater health literacy mean’s heightened readiness,” said CEMM chief Maj. Nikki Robinson. “If Airmen are physically and mentally healthy, they are fit to fight. If their families are being cared for at home, they can better focus on the mission.”

The CEMM aims to improve health literacy and inspire proactive behavior in patients by explaining dozens of health conditions via its multimedia programs.

After determining a need for training or an educational production, CEMM staff work with multimedia production professionals and Air Force experts to perfect  scripts. From there, film production can take place anywhere from on-location shoots to production studios and bases around the country.

In 22 years since its inception, the CEMM has won 94 national awards for excellence in multimedia. Last year, CEMM programs garnered more than 2.8 online visits.

The CEMM also fills media orders, averaging about 144,000 units each year of DVDs, CDs and literature for military treatment facilities around the world free of charge.

“We find that many patients and [medical] providers across the Air Force can’t get enough of these resources once they learn about them,” Robinson said.

The CEMM’s list has grown during the years to include everything from suicide prevention training to diabetes education. The CEMM offers more than 20 medical programs along with dozens of leadership and Airman training videos, public service announcements and promotional videos.

Visit cemm.org, cemmlibrary.org or wingmanonline.org for more information.