Skip to main content

Military Health System

Women leaders say military health care offers limitless opportunities

Image of Military personnel speaking through a microphone. Air Force Brig. Gen. Anita Fligge, deputy assistant director, education and training, and chief nursing officer at the DHA, on serving in the military: “To me, it’s such a great opportunity; it has limitless opportunities to serve and grow professionally.” (Photo by: Warrior Care Facebook page)

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness

Formal mentoring programs exist for women in the military, but the need for ad hoc networking, personal communication, and informal mentoring still appear to be the strongest threads among female military health care professionals.

During National Women's Month, we highlight some of these leaders' opinions.

"There is more cognizance now for women early in their career to have that mentorship and sponsorship," said Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Terry Adirim. "As we get more senior, we develop other networks and relationships, so women won't have to struggle" as much as they did when she graduated from medical school 30 years ago.

"Surround yourself with people who will lift you up, not put you down," Adirim advised.

An emergency care pediatrician by training, Adirim now has a distinguished career in her field and in academia; and has been a senior Department of Defense official in different positions for several administrations.

Army Col. (Dr.) Dana Nguyen, chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the Hebert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, said women should seek out informal networks.

"Even though there are more formal mentorships and networks for women in military medicine, the best are the informal networks and opportunities to share stories, share feelings and reactions and help plan the way forward," and not just in military medicine, she said, but within their local communities as well. "There is more emphasis on whole-person well-being."

Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Ruth Brenner, a preventive medicine physician and deputy chief of the Immunization Healthcare Division, Defense Health Agency Public Health Division, cited the "numerous women physician-leaders I have encountered along the way who serve as a collective guiding light for me as my career progresses. They proved to me that a successful work-life balance was attainable."

Discussing what advice to give young women in a military health care field, Air Force Brig. Gen. Anita Fligge, deputy assistant director, education and training, and chief nursing officer at the DHA, said: "To me, it's such a great opportunity; it has limitless opportunities to serve and grow professionally." She added: "Keeping an open mind and seeking out challenges, setting stretch goals, makes you grow as an officer, a health care professional and a person."

Fligge is responsible for 75 professional development and enlisted medical education programs across two institutes that train more than 308,000 DOD and international students annually.

Army Col. Audra Taylor, division chief, DHA Armed Service Blood Program, said young women and girls looking into health care careers in the military "should follow their passion and go for it. The ability to explore and research different careers and pathways is at their fingertips."

"I would advise that they do their homework, ask questions, and seek out a mentor in their desired career field and push forward."

Taylor has established herself with a strong record of leadership and experience within the blood banking community as well as with civilian counterparts, according to a June 2019 profile by AABB - formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks - which is dedicated to advancing transfusion medicine and biotherapies.

Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs providing a COVID-19 update to press members at the Pentagon
Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Terry Adirim provides a COVID-19 update to members of the press at the Pentagon on March 26. (Photo by: Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders)

IHD's Brenner said: "In the military, the camaraderie is unparalleled. The adventure is not easily matched. There are challenges, but they are surmountable," she said. "Your military medicine career is what you make of it with no limits on the places you go or the things you can achieve. In military medicine, the sky is the limit."

Women medical leaders explained how they joined up not only to help people but also for the challenge of a career in the military community.

"I wanted to help people, but I also wanted to be challenged," Brenner said. "I wanted to find a career where I would always be learning, always be on my toes, and always be proud of my work.

"My career brings me tremendous pride," she said, "because of the patients whose lives I am entrusted. They are superheroes. Can you imagine helping get Captain America or Wonder Woman back on his/her feet after an illness or injury? That is what military physicians do."

All agreed there are continuing issues globally with access to care and disparities in care in the military health field and the civilian health sector.

Speaking as a family physician, Nguyen said she is "worried that the military is not strategically looking to the future" due to proposed reductions in military medicine manpower and scope of practice.

"They are young troops with young families who need advocates who understand the nuances and stress of military families,"she said., Adding, "We have to think about what makes the health care system most operational and effective for the unique population that we serve."

Adirim said that while women in the military health system are making headway in leadership roles, there is still a way to go to developing parity with their male counterparts.

"We need a new set of eyes' to look at the issues of women in leadership and parity. "We're very status quo in the civilian sector and the military," she said. "That's why you want diversity in leadership.

"I want to be the demonstration that women can achieve that level of leadership," she said. "We need more women leaders at (DOD) Health Affairs and the Defense Health Agency level, reflecting who we serve."

Women make up 40% of the military health system. "We need parity there," she said.

"The way policies and procedures are geared toward men, women should think how they can make these policies and procedures fair," Adirim said. "Some 16% of the force is women. There is room for more. Women are smart, strong and very capable."

You also may be interested in...

DODs Patient Safety Program works to eliminate preventable harm

Article
3/18/2021
Picture of a vital sign machine

The Joint Patient Safety Reporting System and TeamSTEPPS play a major role in the DOD’s Patient Safety Program

Recommended Content:

Patient Safety | Quality & Safety of Health Care (for Health Care Professionals) | Patient Safety Awareness Week | Patient Safety Awareness Week | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness

Balancing rest, activity key to recovering from concussion

Article
3/17/2021
Two football teams facing off in the middle of a play

A newly revised suite of tools and resources for military health care providers will help improve the treatment of service members with concussions, and ensure their safe return to full duty.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness

Military researchers gain new insights into brain injuries

Article
3/16/2021
Military personnel sitting at a table collecting data

Blast injury research helps to fill knowledge gaps about brain injury.

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness

Army Announces FDA Clearance of Field Deployable TBI Blood Test

Article
3/12/2021
Military personnel standing in the snow preparing to fire a missile

The US Army announced Food & Drug Administration clearance of a field-deployable traumatic brain injury blood test.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness

Patient Safety Awareness Week 2021 Highlights Role of Technology

Article
3/12/2021
A graphic with the words "Patient Safety Awareness Week 2021 March 14-20

Patient Safety Awareness Week brings awareness to health care safety and promotes patient safety practices.

Recommended Content:

Patient Safety | Health Care Technology | Patient Safety Awards Program | Patient Safety Awareness Week | HRO Awards - Previous Winners | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Patient Safety Awareness Week

Distinguishing between TBIs, psychological conditions key to treatment

Article
3/10/2021
Military personnel holding a gun

Expert says long-lasting symptoms may be a sign of another issue.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | A Head for the Future | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness

Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness

Video
3/8/2021
Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness

A TBI is a blow or jolt to the brain that can be life-altering if the symptoms are not recognized. If you or a loved one experience the symptoms mentioned in this video, speak to a health care professional for more information.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness

New NICoE director sets an ambitious agenda for the future

Article
3/8/2021
Military personnel wearing face mask while talking to each other

The accomplished new leader of the NICoE and Intrepid Spirit Center network has plans for increased services and a higher profile for the unique care center.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Education & Training Events | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Centers of Excellence | The National Intrepid Center of Excellence

Women’s health emerging priorities series highlights mental health

Article
3/4/2021
A woman holding her hands near her face

Women’s mental health can be more affected by transitioning than men’s, speakers’ series attendees hear.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Total Force Fitness | Depression | Psychological Fitness

Proper nutrition impacts overall health & readiness

Article
3/4/2021
Man wearing a face mask restocking fruit at a store

Nutritional fitness implications for Total Force Fitness are far reaching.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Nutritional Fitness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness

Updated tools and training improve TBI and concussion recovery

Article
3/3/2021
A group of military personnel wearing face mask working on laptop computers

Up-to-date clinical tools help diagnose and manage TBI on and off the battlefield.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBICoE Podcasts | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month; TBICoE’s mission lasts all year

Article
3/2/2021
Military health personnel performing a balance test on a patient

Staying a-head of TBI

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | A Head for the Future | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Centers of Excellence

Returning to Duty After Concussion

Infographic
2/24/2021
Returning to Duty After Concussion

This TBICoE infographic gives an overview of the risks of returning to duty too soon after a concussion and explains how a progressive increase in activity can help get you back to duty safely. Returning to duty too soon after concussion can lead to prolonged symptoms, poor marksmanship, decreased readiness, accidents and falls, and increased risk of more concussions.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Patient and Family Resources | TBI Educators | TBI Provider Resources | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness

March 2021 Toolkit

Publication
2/22/2021

March is nationally recognized as Brain Injury Awareness Month, with the goal of increasing traumatic brain injury (TBI) awareness and improve health care providers’ ability to identify, care for, and treat all those who are affected by TBI. A TBI is a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. According to the Defense Health Agency Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence, 430,720 service members have been diagnosed with a first-time TBI since 2000. The toolkit also contains information on patient Safety Awareness Week, National Nutrition Month and many other graphics and messages you can use for holidays and observances during March.

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness | Total Force Fitness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

Sleep After Concussion

Infographic
2/18/2021
Sleep After Concussion

"Sleep After Concussion" is intended for patients and caregivers of those who have sustained a TBI. The infographic reviews general information of sleep-related concerns and points towards additional educational resources.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Patient and Family Resources | TBI Educators | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Sleep | Brain Injury Awareness To Improve Readiness
<< < ... 6 7 8 > >> 
Showing results 76 - 90 Page 6 of 8
Refine your search
Last Updated: April 27, 2021
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery