Philippines, US Conducts Balikatan Virtual Global Health Engagement Published April 16, 2021 By Master Sgt. Theanne Tangen Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- U.S. Pacific Air Forces Command Surgeon kicked off a three-day virtual Global Health Engagement with medical experts from the Philippine Air Force during Exercise Balikatan, April 12. Due to COVID-19 pandemic conditions the knowledge exchange and key leader engagement was executed virtually for the first time. “The main objective of the exchange is to provide an overview of the present pandemic situation from surveillance, on-scene response, testing and monitoring to patient treatment and modifications to patient movement,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Cherielynne Gabriel, U.S. Pacific Air Forces international health specialist. “It aims to share best practices, enhance knowledge of participants and maintain relationships until we can practice medical interoperability in-person again when global health condition improves.” Balikatan is a Tagalog phrase for “shoulder-to-shoulder,” which characterizes the spirit of the exercise and represents the partnership between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines. Exercises like Balikatan strengthen international partnerships and the participating militaries’ abilities to rapidly respond to crises throughout the Indo-Pacific region.