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DHA Honors Military Medical "Young Investigators"

Image of U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Katherine Simonson presents U.S. Army Capt. Stephanie Bulder with a trophy for winning the DHA Clinical Investigations Program second annual Young Investigator Competition at the 2023 annual meeting of AMSUS, the Society of Federal Health Professionals. U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Katherine Simonson presents U.S. Army Capt. Stephanie Bulder with a trophy for winning the DHA Clinical Investigations Program second annual Young Investigator Competition at the 2023 annual meeting of AMSUS, the Society of Federal Health Professionals.

U.S. Army Capt. Stephanie Bulder of Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was recognized in February 2023 by the Defense Health Agency’s Clinical Investigations Program, a branch of DHA’s Research and Engineering directorate, for her research into human papillomavirus vaccination rates in service members. 

Bulder’s was one of several scientific presentations delivered as part of the Clinical Investigations Program second annual Young Investigator Competition. The presentations were delivered at the 2023 annual meeting of AMSUS, the Society of Federal Health Professionals.

“I am honored to be awarded first prize for this year’s Young Investigator Competition … and could not have achieved this accomplishment without the assistance and the support of [my] mentors and leaders in the Womack Departments of research and gynecologic surgery and obstetrics,” Bulder said.

Bulder, a native of Santa Clarita, California, won the competition for her poster titled, "Human Papillomavirus Vaccination and Disease Burden within the U.S. Military [Health] System.” Bulder received her medical degree from Midwestern University College of Osteopathic Medicine and is in her final year of a gynecologic surgery and obstetrics residency at Womack, which serves the Fort Bragg, North Carolina, community.

“The annual Young Investigators Competition shows how cutting-edge graduate health education research conducted by our residents in collaboration with the Clinical Investigations Program creates an environment of excellence,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Katherine Simonson, DHA’s Acting Assistant Director for Support, who presented the award to Bulder. “We are proud of the research conducted by our residents and trainees that will help us build the modernized, integrated, and resilient health delivery system that elevates provider care, patient safety, and improves outcomes for our valued beneficiaries.”

“It was inspiring to be surrounded by leaders from around the country who have dedicated their work to improving the lives and health of our military service members," said Bulder about AMSUS. “As a gynecologic surgeon and obstetrician, I have a vested interest in human papillomavirus as it disproportionally affects women, and I have directly seen the effects of this infection. Our team is enthusiastic about continuing to spread awareness and education regarding the impacts of human papillomavirus, the safety and effectiveness of the available vaccine, and its role in cancer prevention. We will continue to advocate for evidence-based prevention measures.”

“The DHA Clinical Investigations Program promotes exceptionally high standards of care, elevating patient safety, and improving health outcomes,” stated Dr. Saafan Malik, chief of the Research and Engineering Directorate’s research support division. “The Young Investigator Competition is just one example of how we promote cutting-edge research that enables us to provide high-quality health care to our warfighters—a responsibility as a combat support agency—and beneficiaries. We are proud to support and acknowledge the accomplishments of our residents.”

In addition to Bulder’s winning entry, this year’s competition featured participants from Clinical Investigations Programs at six other military hospitals.

  • U.S. Air Force Maj. Brett Jessen, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas - Developing an In Vitro Model of Post-Extraction Bleeding and Evaluating the Feasibility of Xstat for Dental Hemorrhage Control
  • U.S. Air Force Cadet Amy LeClair, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Spring, Colorado - Designing a Wastewater-Based Epidemiology Study at the United States Air Force Academy
  • U.S. Army Capt. Lisa Marinelli, Brooke Army Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas - Histologic Evaluation of Wound-Bed Preparedness Following Microsurfaced Skin Grafts for the Treatment of Deep Burn Wounds: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial
  • U.S. Army Capt. Holly Spitzer, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, El Paso, Texas - Impact of Adherence to Operative Standards and Stage-Specific Guideline-Recommended Therapy in Non-Metastatic Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma
  • U.S. Army Maj. Kristina Thompson, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii - Investigating Acute Respiratory Infections and their Early Biomarkers in Austere Environment
  • U.S. Navy Lt. Aaron Van Dyne, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Portsmouth, Virginia - Social Factors Increasing Risk for Mental Health Conditions Resulting in Separation from the United States Navy

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Last Updated: July 11, 2023
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