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The Navy and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief

Adam M. Robinson

Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson Jr.

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Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson Jr. led a discussion at the Poynter Center's Oct. 20 Health Care Ethics Seminar on his work as surgeon general and chief of the Bureau of Medicine in the U.S. Navy.

Robinson spoke about the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief the Navy provides after events such as the 2004 tsunami off the coast of Southeast Asia and the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The USNS Mercy works in the Pacific, and the USNS Comfort works in Central and South American areas.

Robinson said the U.S. government must have permission from the government of the nation needing aid before the ships can be sent to assist in disaster relief. The ships are self-sufficient and do not use local resources, which is a great help in an emergency or disaster situation. Robinson also noted that the Navy has to consider how much to get involved -- whom they can help or how many -- because they must be able to sustain what they start.

Robinson, a Louisville native, earned his Bachelor of Arts in political science from IU Bloomington in 1972. He was in Bloomington to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Arts and Sciences. He is also receiving IU's Distinguished Alumni Service Award this year.