As the host of the first 2024 caucuses in the nation, Iowa continues a long tradition of significantly influencing who will be the next leader of the free world. From politics, to college sports, to agriculture, the Hawkeye State is proud of our culture and heritage. Moreover, Iowa is seizing a new opportunity to lead.
With seniors making up a quarter of our population, Iowa is an aging state. Throughout the outbreak, Iowa experienced high infection rates despite its relatively small population. This puts thousands of Iowa senior centers, hospitals and health care providers at risk. Although the worst of the pandemic is behind us, it has shown how deadly and unpredictable viruses can be.
To keep our most vulnerable citizens safe, we must be prepared for future public health threats and embrace new, flexible technology designed for this purpose.
The Artificial Intelligence Threat Vulnerability Rapid Analysis (RATE) algorithm, led by the Department of Defense (DD) and Philips, is a powerful tool and game-changing resource in our fight against the next pandemic.
The RATE algorithm uses biomarker data from commercial wearables such as rings or watches to accurately predict infection in the six days before symptoms occur. RATE transforms our approach to viruses by allowing infected people to isolate or seek treatment before the virus has a chance to spread.
RATE’s ability to use watches and rings to predict infection has allowed for a non-invasive and effective assessment of military service members’ health and fitness prior to deployment. Often in close quarters and rough terrain, our soldiers are particularly vulnerable to the spread of dangerous infections. The benefits of RATE to the military are so profound that the DoD has announced plans to add 4,500 RATE-equipped devices to its health and safety programs in the future.
While the new investments from Congress are a positive step for DoD and Phillips to continue expanding RATE’s footprint, preparing our nation for the next pandemic and equipping our service members with the best resources to keep them safe is a continuing challenge.
Senator Yoni Ernst served in our military for over 23 years as a company commander in Kuwait and Iraq. She retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard and now serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee as a member of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities.
Representative Marianette Miller-Meeks served 24 years in the military, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel before continuing to serve in Congress, and now chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Health.
Under the leadership of Sen. Ernst and Representative Miller-Mex, I am confident that Congress will continue to support innovative programs like RATE.
Representing us in Congress at Ernst & Miller-Mex, Iowa is leading the charge in providing revolutionary healthcare technology to the military and the nation.
Republican state representative Philly Thompson represents Greene and most of Boone’s districts.