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Standouts in the Military Health System honored at AMSUS ceremony

Army Col. Mary V. Krueger (left), commander of Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii, and Army  Maj. Katie L. Westerfield, a battalion surgeon with First Security Forces Assistance Brigade, received Female Physician Leadership Awards during the annual conference of AMSUS, the Society of Federal Health Professionals. (Courtesy photo) Army Col. Mary V. Krueger (left), commander of Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii, and Army Maj. Katie L. Westerfield, a battalion surgeon with First Security Forces Assistance Brigade, received Female Physician Leadership Awards during the annual conference of AMSUS, the Society of Federal Health Professionals. (Courtesy photo)

Among the more than 234,000 active duty, civilian, and National Guard and Reserve members serving in the Military Health System, many "have risen to the very top of their career fields," said Rebecca Russell, chief human capital officer for the MHS. These standouts were honored Thursday at an awards ceremony during the annual meeting of AMSUS, the Society of Federal Health Professionals. Additionally, several military treatment facilities were also recognized for their innovations.

"Our Military Health System is the envy of the world — and that's because of our people," said Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Tom McCaffery. "They make everything we do possible, from unmatched battlefield care to world-class health care for our beneficiaries at home. These award winners exemplify the excellence that the men and women of the MHS display every day."

The awards and winners are as follows:

  • Female Physician Leadership Award: Recognizes contributions to military medicine and work mentoring others, inspiring young women working in the fields of medicine and science.Junior: Army Maj. Katie L. Westerfield, Battalion Surgeon, First Security Forces Assistance Brigade; Navy Lt. Cmdr. Amy A. Hernandez, general surgeon at Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, California; Air Force Maj Brooke M. Scuito, chief of aerospace medicine at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska; Public Health Service Lt. Cmdr. Witzard Seide, PHS company commander and assistant commandant, School of Medicine, Uniformed Service University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland. Senior: Army Col. Mary V. Krueger, commander of Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii; Navy Cmdr. Marilisa G. Elrod, associate director of professional education, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia; Air Force Lt. Col. Valerie G. Sams, staff trauma surgeon, San Antonio Military Medical Center, Texas.
  • Nursing Leadership Excellence Award: acknowledges and honors military and civilian registered nurses in the field at the tactical/operational level who have demonstrated exemplary leadership and skill resulting in noteworthy clinical or administrative accomplishments.Junior: Army Maj. Shirley M. Ochoa-Dobies, perioperative nurse, Fort Belvoir, Virginia; Navy Lt. Cmdr. Timothy G.H. Whiting, public health nurse/health promotion/wellness and immunization/Directorate of Public Health, Naval Hospital Okinawa; Air Force Lt. Col. Keith A. Schultz, emergency/trauma, 460th MDG Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado. Senior: Army Lt. Col. Gerry P. Sharp, Med Surg, Joint Base San Antonio; Navy Capt. Kim P. Shaughnessy-Granger, certified nurse midwife, assistant deputy chief, Healthcare Operations, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery; Air Force Col. Connie L. Winik, chief nurse, 86 Medical Squadron, Langstuhl, Germany; U.S. Public Health Service Capt. Jennifer A.M. Vedder, commissioned corps liaison to DoD Defense Health Headquarters, Falls Church, Virginia. Junior civilian: (Army) Michele M. Brailo, critical care/adult ICU, Regional Health Command – Pacific; (Navy) Patricia A. Gill, ambulatory nursing care, Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command; (Air Force) Erin L. Peterson, education and training, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado; (DHA) Ashley N. Boatright, Med/ Surg.,Fort Belvoir,Virginia. Senior civilian: (Army) Phyllis A. Toor, TeamSTEPPSTeam Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety (TeamSTEPPS) is an evidence-based teamwork system designed to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of healthcare. TeamSTEPPS consists of a collection of instructions, materials and tools to help drive a successful teamwork initiative from the initial planning to implementation through to sustainment. The system is designed to improve patient safety using a three-phase approach: Phase I Assessment: Facility determines organizational readiness; Phase II Planning, Training & Implementation: Facility “decides what to do” and “makes it happen;” and Phase III Sustainment: Facility spreads the improvements in teamwork performance, clinical processes and outcomes resulting from the TeamSTEPPS initiative.TEAMSTEPPS program manager/patient safety nurse consultant, U.S. Army Medical Command; (Navy) Dr. Francesca P. Cariello, quality/patient safety/RM/accreditation/and resuscitative care, Naval Health Clinic, Quantico, Virginia; (Air Force) Hope L. Greeley, critical care/emergency trauma nursing instructor, Joint Base San Antonio;(DHA) Shawntel D. Rainey-Stokes, Med Surg., Fort Belvoir.
  • Allied Health Leadership Excellence Award: acknowledges and honors military allied health professionals in the field at the tactical and operational level. They have demonstrated exemplary leadership and clinical skills/non-clinical skills.Junior Non-Provider:Air Force Capt Ryan P. Comes, medical laboratory officer and diagnostics flight commander, 92 MDG, Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. Junior Provider:Air Force Capt. Andrea M. Sumner, Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. Senior Non-Provider: Air Force Maj. Burke R. Wilson, pharmacist, 92D MDG, Fairchild. Senior Provider:Navy Cmdr. Robert D. Lippy, clinical psychologist and commander, MSC USN, Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, San Diego.

Additionally, several facilities won DoD Advancement toward High Reliability in Healthcare Awards, for showing initiative and commitment to the development of systems and processes that will lead the MHS toward a better, safer, nationally recognized health care system.

The awards, winning facilities, and their initiatives are as follows:

  • Healthcare Quality Awards: Naval Health Clinic Hawaii, Using HRO Principles to Improve Weight-Based Prescribing for Pediatric Patients; Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia, two: Enhanced Recovery after Surgery- Establishment of an Institutional Protocol, and Sustainment and Standardization of PeriOp Surgical Quality Improvements to Support a Medically Ready Force; 96th Medical Group Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Improvement of Surgical Outcomes through Implementation of ERAS Protocols; Naval Hospital Pensacola, Florida, Improving Accuracy and Speed of Urine Drug Testing in Opioid Therapy;Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas, four: Implementing Standardized Comprehensive Behavioral Health Screening in Military Primary Care Clinics, MRI TIA Protocol Order Change Reduces Cost and Redundant MR Angiographic Imaging: Preliminary Results, NICU Enteral Feeding Protocol: Impact on TPN and Central Line Days, and Successful Implementation of an Antibiotic Audit and Feedback Program at a Tertiary Military Medical Center; and U.S. Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay, Sterile Compounding Program Optimization.
  • Patient Safety Awards:USCENTCOM Military Training Facility, Infection Control Improvements in Deployed Medical Treatment Facilities; MEDDAC Bavaria, Improving Medication Safety through Trending Near Miss Errors; Naval Medical Center San Diego, Emergency Checklists – Improving Outcomes in Obstetric Emergencies; 97th Medical Group Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, Dental Readiness—Crossing Military Branch Barriers for Safe, Expedient and Efficient Care; Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, two: Tissue Management Process, and Short Term Opiate Prescribing and Intraoperative Therapy; Keller Army Community Hospital, New York, Pediatric Weight-Based Medication Dosing Errors;U.S. and Naval Hospital Yokosuka, Japan, two: Blue Light Hazard Reduction Initiative Protects Patients and Staff, and Master Privilege List Accuracy Visibility and Plasticity.
  • Improved Access Award: 377th Medical Group Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, MERC-Access to Care on the Front Lines; Naval Hospital Beaufort, South Carolina, Conversion of No-Shows to Virtual Encounters; Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Main Operating Room Optimization; U.S Naval Hospital Yokosuka, Fetal Ultrasound via TeleRadiology.
  • Patient Engagement Awards: Naval Hospital Pensacola, Care Coordination: The Patient’s Liaison and Link to Navy Medicine; 31st Medical Group Aviano Air Base, Italy, Optimal Communication and Opportunity: Patient Engagement Award; 39th Medical Group Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Enhanced Medical Care through Marketing; Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Texas, Patient Engagement: Implementing Secure Messaging.

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