Back to Top Skip to main content

NH Guantanamo Bay Lt. named as Subspecialty Officer of the Year

Navy Lt. Ara Gutierrez, Naval Readiness and Training Command Guantanamo Bay, was selected Navy Medicine’s Medical Technology Subspecialty Junior Officer of the Year for 2020. Navy Lt. Ara Gutierrez, Naval Readiness and Training Command Guantanamo Bay, was selected Navy Medicine’s Medical Technology Subspecialty Junior Officer of the Year for 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Dawn Grimes)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain not only on frontline healthcare workers, but also the medical laboratory professionals who perform COVID-19 testing behind the scenes. Medical laboratory professionals who have rarely been in public view are now thrust in the spotlight.

For 2020, Navy Lt. Ara Gutierrez, Naval Readiness and Training Command Guantanamo Bay (NMRTC GB), was selected Navy Medicine’s Medical Technology Subspecialty Junior Officer of the Year.

”For our isolated duty station, getting supplies and resources as efficiently and quickly as possible is paramount in delivering patient care and it’s especially important for the laboratory department,” she explained. Gutierrez, who is the only military medical technologist on island explained, “We developed mitigation strategies to enhance chain of custody and reduce turnaround time for laboratory samples to get to reference laboratories.”

At the onset of the pandemic, US Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay (USNH GB), located aboard Naval Station Guantanamo Bay on the island of Cuba, turnaround time for the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for COVID-19 was 72 hours. Under Gutierrez’s leadership, the laboratory was able to reduce turnaround time to just 15 minutes.

“As of today, we currently have three methodologies to perform testing for COVID, one methodology to test for COVID-19 antibodies and two methodologies to test for the COVID virus.” Gutierrez explained, “The fact that we have multiple ways to test for COVID and COVID antibodies makes the hospital very self-sufficient and prepared if we ever run out of supplies for one analyzer since we would have redundancy in our capabilities.”

“Lieutenant Gutierrez’s accomplishments have been nothing short of exceptional.” stated Navy Cmdr. Shawn Weber, NMRTC GB’s Clinical Support Services director. “From her guidance in the medical laboratory to her leadership within the command, wardroom, Medical Service Corps Association, and diversity committee, she’s shown how highly capable she is. I’m extremely pleased and not surprised she was chosen.”

Gutierrez, who joined the Navy on the 69th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, said she was genuinely surprised and honored to represent medicine’s "hidden profession”, when she learned about her selection.

“I just made Lieutenant last March and gave birth a month after. I didn't think that my efforts would be enough to compete, let alone be selected.” Gutierrez who has also served on the USNS Mercy and at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego in California continued, “Compared to others who didn't have to deal with maternity leave and balancing their daily work, military life, and being a first time mom I wasn't sure that I was enough.”

Gutierrez, started medical training in the Philippines. “While in school I felt there would be more opportunities for me to serve sick people and help my family if I attended school in the US.” To the Navy’s fortune, while in school, Gutierrez stayed with her uncle, a retired U.S. Navy chief.

“He mentored me about the possibility of being a Navy corpsman and a few weeks later I enlisted.” Celebrating her two year Guantanamo Bay anniversary this month, Gutierrez said she is happy and humbled to represent her team at NMRTC GB in this unique way.

“With how isolated our duty station is, our efforts might not as apparent, but this award really highlights the effort that is required because of our limited resources and challenging supply chain.” She added, “It’s an all-in effort by our laboratory department and I’m honored to have been able to contribute for our patients.”

You also may be interested in...

RHC-Europe Soldiers compete for Army Best Medic title

Article
1/21/2021
Soldiers in the snow, pulling a sled of materials

Army Sgt. Metcalf and Spc. Galdamez prepare to compete in the 2021 Command Sgt. Maj. Jack L. Clark Jr. U.S. Army Best Medic Competition later in the month at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

MHS refractive surgery experts discuss warfighter readiness

Article
1/13/2021
Image of Mr. McCaffery looking at a monitor with an eye on it

Refractive surgery is any surgery that eliminates the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

DOD Launches “My MilLife Guide” Text Message Program to Boost Wellness

Article
1/11/2021
The new My MilLife Guide program supports the wellness of the military community.

DoD has launched My MilLife Guide, a new program that sends text messages designed to help the military community boost overall wellness while navigating stresses related to COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | Operation Live Well | Health Readiness

Health literacy focuses on empowering patients to engage in their care

Article
12/30/2020
Medical personnel, wearing a mask, inserting an IV into a patient

How patient-doctor communication improves the health care experience.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Health Literacy Month 2020

AFHSD’s GEIS collect data worldwide to support force protection

Article
12/22/2020
Medical personnel scanning forehead of soldier with thermometer

AFHSD/GEIS continue work with partners across the globe in their efforts to combat COVID-19 and protect military readiness.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health | Coronavirus | Biological Surveillance Tools | Global Health Engagement | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Fort Irwin & TDP collaborate to improve dental care for families

Article
12/16/2020
Image of a bus with the words "Military Dental Services" on the side

The need for family dentistry at Fort Irwin was the result of losing their network civilian dentist on base last spring.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness

Deputy defense secretary stresses team approach in battling COVID

Article
12/10/2020
Soldier wearing mask, standing at computer monitors in an office building

The Military Health System has played an important role implementing the National Defense Strategy, Norquist said.

Recommended Content:

MHS Transformation | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Health Readiness

USAMRIID scientist recognized by French for distinguished service

Article
12/4/2020
Two military officers on stage; one handing the other a certificate

Kugelman...identified genetic markers of persistence of the Chikungunya virus.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Research and Innovation | Technology

DGMC medical study looks at plant-based diet

Article
12/3/2020
Man wearing mask and gloves putting container of salad into salad bar

Researchers measured important cholesterol, weight and blood pressure markers at baseline and at 4-weeks.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness

New report finds military hearing health is improving

Article
12/3/2020
Military doctor inspecting patient's ear

Noise-induced hearing loss is decreasing for active-duty service members.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness | Hearing Loss | Hearing Center of Excellence Research Coordination Directorate | Hearing Center of Excellence

Seven MTFs recognized by ACS for surgical care

Article
12/3/2020
Military surgeons in an operating room

The MHS hospitals were among 89 recognized facilities and 607 total military and civilian hospitals participating in the program.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness

Navy Corpsman helps maintain USS Albany readiness

Article
12/2/2020
Soldier wearing a stethoscope on a submarine

Navy Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Matthew Carter is currently serving aboard Albany as an IDC.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

METC improves surgical tech training with new laparoscopy standard

Article
12/1/2020
Surgical team in operating room

A laparoscopy is a low-risk, non-invasive surgical procedure used to examine organs inside the abdomen and repair or remove tissue.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Health Readiness | Research and Innovation | Technology

MSMR Vol. 27 No. 12 - December 2020

Report
12/1/2020

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Cases of coronavirus disease 2019 and comorbidities among Military Health System beneficiaries, 1 January 2020 through 30 September 2020; Characteristics of U.S. Army beneficiary cases of COVID-19 in Europe, 12 March 2020–17 April 2020; Air evacuation of service members for COVID-19 in U.S. Central Command and U.S. European Command from 11 March 2020 through 30 September 2020; SARS-CoV-2 and influenza coinfection in a deployed military setting— Two case reports.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

BAMC recognized by American College of Surgeons for outstanding care

Article
11/27/2020
Medical team, wearing masks, rushing a patient in a hospital bed down the hallway

“BAMC provides more complex care to the nation than any other military treatment facility..."

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Combat Support
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 37

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.