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  Name:   Dr. Mill Etienne
Month: January 2011
Schools: Yale BA 1998, New York Medical College MD 2002
Columbia MPH 2008
Organization: United States Navy
Title: Lieutenant Commander (LCDR)

Dr. Mill Etienne was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and came to the United States with his family when he was five years old. Dr. Etienne played an instrumental role in the success of the United States mission "Operation Unified Response" after a disastrous earthquake in Haiti. On January 12, 2010 the deadliest natural disaster ever to occur in the Western Hemisphere devastated the island nation of Haiti, toppling its government and public health infrastructure. The United States Joint Task Force-Haiti launched "Operation Unified Response" to offer disaster relief and humanitarian assistance to the people of Haiti. The USNS Comfort was deployed and served as the tertiary care medical center for the region. Dr. Etienne was the only physician of Haitian descent on board the USNS Comfort.

In addition to executing his duties as a neurologist managing countless complex and rarely seen neurological disorders, he played a pivotal role in organizing a comprehensive interpreter department which contributed immensely to the success of the mission by facilitating communication between medical providers and Haitian earthquake victims. He also organized and served as chairman of the multidisciplinary Health Care Ethics Committee which offered guidance on the management of numerous complex patient care issues. Dr. Etienne notes that there was a delicate balance in superimposing a large US medical center on this very poor country which had just suffered a disaster of epic proportions. Dr. Etienne stressed that in offering humanitarian assistance and disaster relief the medical practitioners must have respect for communities, cultures and traditions as well as demonstrate respect for the sovereignty of the Host nation. The role of the ethics committee on the success of that mission has inspired Dr. Etienne to work with colleagues to produce guidelines for ethical decision making in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions for both military and civilian operations, which is chronicled in the latest edition (May/June 2010) of the American Journal of Disaster Medicine.

In addition to working on the USNS Comfort, Dr. Etienne visited clinics and hospitals across the island to offer much needed neurological care. Dr. Etienne assisted one hospital in establishing a medical record charting system. While on the island, Dr. Etienne identified patients who needed a higher level of care and arranged for them to be transported via helicopter to the USNS Comfort for more definitive care. Dr. Etienne also made a few home visits to offer assistance to patients living in the countryside who could not readily make it to the hospitals and clinics in Port-au-Prince. For a comprehensive review of Dr. Etienne's work in Haiti, you can visit www.navy.mil (keyword Mill Etienne). Further accounts of Dr. Etienne's work in Haiti can be viewed at the WEBsites for USA Today, Baltimore Sun, NY Times, Miami Herald, World Neurology, Lancet Neurology, Neurology Today, Annals of Internal Medicine, American Journal of Disaster Medicine, American Academy of Neurology to name a few.

Dr. Etienne grew up in Spring Valley, New York, home to the largest suburban population of Haitians and Haitian-Americans in the United States. After graduating from Ramapo Senior high school, he went on to Yale University where he majored in behavioral neuroscience, which at the time was a combination of the psychology and biology major. While at Yale, he was initiated into the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. During his senior year at Yale, he was awarded the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship which financed his first three years of medical school. While in medical school, he served as the National Speaker of the House of Delegates for the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and he coordinated the Science and Technology Enrichment Program at New York Medical College which helped underprivileged high school students excel in the math and sciences. Dr. Etienne's interest in the US military was sparked during his final year of medical school after seeing the terrorist attacks on New York City's twin towers and United States Pentagon.

Following medical school, Dr. Etienne completed his internal medicine and neurology training at Columbia University, where he also earned a Masters Degree in Public Health. While at Columbia Dr. Etienne saw his brother and numerous cousins deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and decided that he wanted to serve the country in a greater capacity. Dr. Etienne received a commission as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy in October 2004 and drilled as a naval reservist in Bronx, NY. In July 2009 he did a voluntary recall to active duty and in August 2009 he began working at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center. There, he is the director of Epilepsy and the EEG laboratory and he is also the Associate Program Director for the National Capital Consortium Neurology Residency Program.

Dr. Etienne is assistant professor of neurology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He has numerous publications in peer reviewed journals as well as book chapters focusing on dysfunction of the human nervous system. He has completed numerous research projects and has presented his research at national and international scientific meetings. Dr. Etienne is board certified in both Neurology and public health and he has served for many years as a spokesperson for the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, particularly emphasizing the importance of decreasing the risk of stroke and disability from stroke in minority communities.

LCDR Etienne's military decorations to date include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal and the Military outstanding volunteer service medal. LCDR Etienne resides in Silver Spring, MD and he enjoys reading, traveling, dining out, music, and physical fitness.

 

 

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