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9/21/2018: Recap of recent Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee meeting

Submitted by Dr. Adrienne Buggs, MD, Office of Merchant Mariner Credentialing

The Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee (MEDMAC) met Sept. 13-14, 2018 at the American Maritime Officers (AMO) STAR Center in Dania Beach, Florida to discuss matters relating to medical certification determinations for issuance of licenses, certificates of registry, and merchant mariners’ documents, medical standards and guidelines for the physical qualifications of operators of commercial vessels, medical examiner education, and medical research. This meeting was open to public participation and included:

1) A general discussion of mariner mental health issues with presentations by mariner service organizations and industry. The discussion highlighted the importance of mental health for the maritime industry and explored factors that may contribute to poor mental health in the maritime setting. Presentations covered a wide range of topics, including:

a. Seafarer Mental Health, A Regulator’s Perspective, Dr. Adrienne Buggs, MD, Office of Merchant Mariner Credentialing

b. Medical Evaluation Process For Mariners with Mental Health Disorders, Dr. Laura Torres-Reyes, MD, MPH, Coast Guard National Maritime Center

c. Observations from the SCI Roundtable on Mariner Mental Health, Mr. Douglas Stevenson, Seamen’s Church Institute

d. Mental Health – Liberian Registry’s Experience, Ms. Ruphene Sidifall, Liberian International Ship and Corporate Registry

e. Mariner Suicide and Suicide Prevention Training, Rev. David Rider, Seamen’s Church Institute

f. Piracy, maritime traumatic events, and seafarer wellbeing, Dr. Conor Seyle, PhD Director, One Earth Future

g. Mental Health Research in Seafarers, Dr. Rafael Y. Lefkowitz, MD MPH, Yale School of Medicine

h. Mental Health-Case Studies, Boriana Farrar, The American Club, Vice President/Counsel (SCB,Inc.)

i. A Mentally Healthy Workplace, Danielle Centeno, The American Club, Asst. VP of Loss Prevention and Survey Compliance

2) Subcommittees also met to address the following tasks tasks:

a. The task on Appropriate Diets and Wellness for Mariners While Onboard Merchant Vessels, which examines how diet and lifestyle factors onboard merchant vessels can be modified to promote mariner health.

b. The task on Mariner Mental Health Issues, which examines ways to promote and protect the mental health of merchant mariners.

c. The task on Communication between external stakeholders and the Mariner Credentialing Program, which serves as a mechanism to provide open communication and regular feedback between maritime industry stakeholders and the Merchant Mariner Credentialing Program on matters related to medical certification.

In addition, the Committee received briefings on the Mariner Medical Certificate Program and the Drug and Alcohol Prevention and Investigations.

The Coast Guard would like to thank the Committee members for their participation, the attending public for their involvement, the presenters for their insights and the AMO STAR Center for the use of its facilities. The minutes of this meeting will be published on Homeport by Dec. 14, 2018.

In addition, the Coast Guard maintains a MEDMAC distribution list for the notification of the public regarding MEDMAC activities. Please e-mail to be added to this list.

This blog is not a replacement or substitute for the formal posting of regulations and updates or existing processes for receiving formal feedback of the same. Links provided on this blog will direct the reader to official source documents, such as the Federal Register, Homeport and the Code of Federal Regulations. These documents remain the official source for regulatory information published by the Coast Guard.

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