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DHA Will Serve “Anytime, Anywhere – Always,” Says New Director

Image of U.S. Army Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Telita Crosland becomes the Defense Health Agency's fourth director at a ceremony held in Falls Church, Virginia, on Jan. 3. . U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Telita Crosland becomes the Defense Health Agency's fourth director at a ceremony held in Falls Church, Virginia, on Jan. 3. Crosland succeeds U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place, who served as director since October 2019.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Telita Crosland yesterday became the Defense Health Agency’s fourth director in its nearly 10-year existence, pledging to continue taking the DHA “down its path of excellence.”

With a career spanning three decades of service in the U.S. Army and in the Military Health System, Crosland succeeded U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place, who served as director since October 2019.

The U.S. Senate confirmed her for promotion to lieutenant general, and she will receive her third star on Jan. 20. She also serves as the first African American DHA director.

Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Seileen Mullen presided over the Jan. 3 ceremony at Defense Health Headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia, to welcome Crosland as the new director, transitioning from her most recent position as the U.S. Army’s deputy surgeon general.

“I’m thankful for this opportunity and grateful to this team, and excited about partnering with our surgeons general, our industry partners, and our patients during a dynamic period in health care,” said Crosland. “I love what we do in our Military Health System in service to our country and those we are privileged to serve.”

The DHA was established in 2013 as a U.S. military combat support agency to manage medical enterprise services worldwide. In 2017, as a result of congressional mandates, DHA was tasked to directly manage all military hospitals and clinics and integrate military health care with the TRICARE network of providers around the world.

As Crosland’s predecessor, Place oversaw this massive evolution of DHA during his tenure, with more than 700 military medical, dental, and veterinary facilities transitioning from the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force to the agency. Now, the DHA’s military and civilian workforce of more than 140,000 serve approximately 9.6 million active-duty service members, military retirees, and their families worldwide.

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place gives his final remarks and farewell to the Defense Health Agency U.S. Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place gives his final remarks and farewell to the Defense Health Agency team after three years leading the agency through major organizational reforms and COVID-19 pandemic response operations. Place retires after 36 years in uniform and passed the director role to U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Telita Crosland during a ceremony held in Falls Church, Virginia, on Jan. 3. Credit: Robert Hammer, MHS Communications

“The mission of military medicine essentially stayed the same for all 36 years of my time in uniform … and that's to take superb care of anyone who's raised their hand to serve and to deliver that care anywhere in the world, under the most challenging circumstances imaginable,” Place said. “Our military health mission endures. But organizations, on the other hand, must evolve. High reliability is about adaptation; it's about improvement. And sometimes that means bringing in a completely new organization, in this case the Defense Health Agency.”

Under Place’s leadership, DHA was also awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award for Excellence by the U.S. Secretary of Defense for its work to respond to the global COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its spread.

“Though General Place’s shoes will be hard to fill, I am confident that General Crosland is the woman to do so,” Mullen said.

Launching her military career in the U.S. Army as a medical corps officer in 1993, Crosland is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the Eisenhower School.

She has served in a variety of leadership positions throughout her military career at military installations, hospitals and clinics across the globe. Most recently as the Army deputy surgeon general, she also served as the deputy commander of the Army’s Medical Command.

“From her days as a West Point cadet through her academic accomplishments as she earned her doctorate of medicine, master’s of public health, and master’s of science in National Resource Strategy, to her long list of leadership positions in service to our nation, General Crosland has shown exactly the kind of perseverance, dedication, and excellence that will serve her, and us, so well in her new position,” Mullen said.

Crosland is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine, a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, and a recipient of the Army Surgeon General's “A” proficiency designator. Her awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Joint Service Achievement Medal.

“Since the establishment of the agency in 2013, I have witnessed what you are capable of, and I know you bring a passion for and commitment to excellence,” said Crosland of the DHA’s 140,000-strong workforce.

She concluded by accentuating the new vision of the DHA to “care for the joint force and those we are privileged to serve – anytime, anywhere – always.”

Maj. Gen. Crosland Becomes DHA's Fourth Director

To watch the entire ceremony and listen to the full remarks from Mullen, Place and Crosland, visit the Military Health System on the Defense Visual Information Distribution ServiceOpens DVIDS

About the Defense Health Agency

At a glance, the Defense Health Agency:

  • Delivers health care to millions of our service members, families, and retirees, with the principal purpose to keep the our forces healthy and ready
  • Manages the TRICARE program, which includes hundreds of thousands of civilian network providers’ and integrating military and Click to closeprivate sector careNetwork and non-network TRICARE-authorized civilian health care professionals, pharmacies, and suppliers.private sector care
  • Leads a worldwide public health system that proactively prevents injuries and illnesses, and protects our communities from environmental threats
  • Conducts and coordinates essential medical research to better prepare the U.S. military for known and emerging threats, both natural and manmade
  • Leads a military medical education and training system, providing superbly prepared medical professionals for every medical mission
  • Manages procurement and distribution of an $11 billion a year medical supply chain including about 560,000 medical devices for the Joint Force

Established in 2013, the DHA is a combat support agency (like the Defense Intelligence Agency and Defense Logistics Agency) that provides a number of shared health services across the MHS, from operating the TRICARE health benefits to providing pharmacy and medical logistics, performing medical research and development and operating health information technology systems, with a goal of providing integrated and efficient service to the joint force worldwide.

The DHA’s global workforce of almost 140,000 civilians and military personnel is committed to medical excellence, health care improvement, and ensuring military personnel are ready to perform combat operations and humanitarian missions at home and abroad. 

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Last Updated: September 06, 2023
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