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Individuals, teams honored at MHSRS for exemplary research

Navy Vice Adm. Raquel C. Bono and Navy Rear Adm. Mary C. Riggs join individual and team award winners honored at the 2019 Military Health System Research Symposium on Monday, August 19th in Kissimmee, Florida. (MHS photo) Navy Vice Adm. Raquel C. Bono and Navy Rear Adm. Mary C. Riggs join individual and team award winners honored at the 2019 Military Health System Research Symposium on Monday, August 19th in Kissimmee, Florida. (MHS photo)

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The Military Health System recognized medical researchers’ accomplishments on Monday, August 19th, opening day of the Military Health System Research Symposium at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center. Four individuals and three teams received honors.

Dr. Amy Adler, clinical research psychologist at the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience Research at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland received the 2019 MHSRS Distinguished Service Award for lifetime achievement in the research category of behavioral health and resilience research. Army Col. Jeffrey Thomas accepted the award on her behalf.

Thomas nominated Dr. Adler, saying, “Dr. Adler's peerless leadership and productivity in military behavioral health and resilience have led to numerous evidence-based solutions that have improved the health, resilience, and performance of service members. Dr. Adler's remarkable service, professionalism, and dedication reflect great credit on her, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and the Military Health System.”

Navy Cdr. Ian Valerio, attending plastic surgeon and director of burn, wound and trauma at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center received the award for outstanding individual research accomplishment/academia-industry (research category: precision medicine for acute & trauma and critical care).

Valerio, who now serves in the Navy reserves, researched and pioneered the use of a surgical technique whereby cut sensory nerves are buried in the remaining, nearby muscles during limb amputations, significantly preventing neuroma formation and phantom limb pain.

In his nomination letter, Dr. David Dean, associate professor in the department of plastic surgery, said of his colleague, “Dr. Valerio is a tireless example of patient advocacy to his trainees, whom he involves in his care of both civilian and military patients. He is one of the busiest physicians at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, yet he finds time to mentor trainees on the importance of basic, early state, translational and outcome assessment research.”

Army Lt. Col. Gordon West, a nurse scientist at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii received the inaugural Captain Anita C. Bacher Award for Excellence in Military Nursing Research. Navy Rear Adm. Mary C. Riggs, deputy assistant director, research and development at the Defense Health Agency, presented the award on Monday, August 19th at the 2019 Military Health System Research Symposium on Monday, August 19th in Kissimmee, Florida. (MHS photo)
Army Lt. Col. Gordon West, a nurse scientist at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii received the inaugural Captain Anita C. Bacher Award for Excellence in Military Nursing Research. Navy Rear Adm. Mary C. Riggs, deputy assistant director, research and development at the Defense Health Agency, presented the award on Monday, August 19th at the 2019 Military Health System Research Symposium in Kissimmee, Florida. (MHS photo)

Dr. Paul Sherman, director of neurological and neuroradiology research at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio received the award for outstanding individual research accomplishment/military (research category: managing physiologic events in military aviation).

Dr. Sherman leads a multi-million dollar research program investigating neurological injury to U2 pilots and other personnel exposed to high-altitudes, which has led to operation and equipment improvements and reduction of medical risk for warfighters. According to nominator Air Force Lt. Col. Nathan Maertens, Dr. Sherman “is a prolific communicator and published author. He has also expanded his research efforts with international collaborators and serves as faculty neuroradiologist for the 59th medical wing.”

The final individual award was the inaugural Captain Anita C. Bacher Award for Excellence in Military Nursing Research. Navy Capt. Anita C. Bacher was a leader and mentor in the Nurse Corps for more than 20 years. As a tribute to her accomplishments in research and her unswerving dedication as a Naval Officer, this award honors her career and accomplishments by identifying a military nurse corps officer who has contributed greatly to nursing research in the fields of operational medicine, trauma or cardiovascular science.

The award’s first recipient was Army Lt. Col. Gordon West, a nurse scientist at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was nominated for research to determine whether the military uniform may be a risk factor in hospital-acquired infections. West’s research “directly improves the medical readiness of soldiers as well as the health and wellness of their families” according to his nomination, and he was commended for his efforts in writing about and presenting on his findings for numerous audiences.

The recipients of the MHSRS 2019 Team Awards are as follows:

Outstanding Research Team/Small Team/Military: Hazard Recognition Team, Luke Air Force Base, Glendale, Arizona (research category: occupational & environmental exposure: basic & applied research).

Darrin K. Ott, Ph.D. from the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio accepted the award on the team’s behalf. The team’s goal of protecting flight line personnel from jet engine exhaust averted $18 million runway upgrade delays and maximized parking configurations for 200 F-16 and F-35 aircraft.

Outstanding Research Team/Large Team/Military: Zika Purified Inactivated Virus (ZPIV) Team, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, Maryland (research category: innovative countermeasures & diagnostics to emerging infectious diseases).

Team lead Dr. Kayvon Modjarrad from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research accepted the award. The team collaborated with government, industry and academic partners to move from an initial concept of a Zika vaccine to clinical trials within an unprecedented 180 days.

Outstanding Research Team/Team/Academia-Industry:  The San Antonio Whole Blood Consortium, San Antonio, Texas (research category: acute lifesaving trauma interventions).

Dr. Donald Jenkins, department of surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center accepted the award on the team’s behalf. The multi-year partnership established a multi-disciplinary, regional whole blood resuscitation program that has successfully brought blood transfusion to the site of injury, extending time available for patient treatment. The program has become a model for modern whole blood resuscitation.

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