Skip to main content

Military Health System

MHS Team Resiliency Awards recognize medical response to COVID-19

Image of Sailors wearing masks, leaning on a table and writing on sheets of paper. Sailors assigned to Naval Medical Center San Diego fill out COVID-19 pre-screening forms before being administered the COVID-19 vaccine Dec. 15. NMCSD received awards for their Resilience Enhancement Support Team (REST) and Care Includes Peer Support (CIPS), both part of their effort in battling COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of Naval Medical Center San Diego.)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Research and Innovation | Patient Safety | Patient Safety Awards Program | Ready and Resilient Award

Teams from 35 facilities throughout the Military Health System were honored during the presentation of the 2020 Team Resiliency Awards in a virtual awards ceremony held at the Defense Health Agency headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia on Dec. 14.

The awards – based on peer nominations – recognize the exemplary and heroic work by front-line staff, teams, and individuals in military medical treatment facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Created in April 2020, the awards are part of a program to recognize both clinical and non-clinical professional staff and to highlight efforts throughout the DOD.

Nearly 400 individuals and teams were recognized for their flexibility, hard work, and innovation in response to COVID-19. Another ceremony, held in August, honored more than 100 awardees.

The awards exemplified five key attributes:

  • Putting people first
  • Taking care of your team
  • Asking for and offering help
  • Taking care of yourself
  • Prioritizing the essential
  • Doing the right thing right

Submissions for the awards were made via the DHA’s Patient Safety program and are a component of Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety, or 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®, which reinforces critical team resiliency capabilities to mitigate risks and reinforce proven endurance strategies when faced with uncertainties.

Army Sgt. Maj. Esteban Alvarado, DHA senior enlisted leader for combat support, said personnel, facilities, and teams from throughout the MHS went above and beyond and deserved to be recognized.

Hospital personnel wearing a mask and stethoscope, listening to patient's lungs
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Aris Pacheco listens to a patient’s lungs during a routine exam at the Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay’s Primary Care Clinic. More than 100 staff members at Naval Medical Readiness Training Command Guantanamo Bay were recognized during the awards ceremony. (Photo by Seaman Lauren Nguyen.)

“From the men and women who work tirelessly to clean our facilities to the pharmacy staff, emergency departments, public health teams, laboratory staff, corpsmen, medics, nurses, and physicians, this year has really been a trying time,” Alvarado said. “It’s fitting that we come together today to recognize a few of you.”

His observations were echoed by Dr. Paul Cordts, DHA’s chief medical officer and deputy assistant director for medical affairs.

“We see the innovation here (at DHA) that’s coming from you…we’re now on our sixth iteration of our practice management guidelines,” Cordts said. “As a leader you need to think of the resilience of your team and what it will take to keep them going and doing their heroic work.”

The awards display military medicine’s vast capabilities, especially during an unexpectedly adverse and potentially deadly situation. According to Heidi King, DHA patient safety program manager for medical affairs, it’s situations like these that show military training and resourcefulness, as well as teamwork, and can bring stability to chaos.

“There have been so many awesome stories that have come in that are being recognized, both individuals and teams, to safeguard our staff as well as our patients, and this just shows how we are ready and reliable and resilient during this heightened stress and uncertain times,” King said.

One example, featuring dozens of awardees, was Naval Hospital Rota in Spain.

Like other commands outside the continental United States, proactive and creative responses including a “pseudo-ICU” were needed early in the pandemic to deal with factors such as the lack of established evidence-based practices or higher authority guidance due to COVID-19’s swift spread through Europe prior to its arrival in the United States.

“Battling COVID and social isolation, the team at Naval Hospital Rota was able to effectively mitigate spread and yield 100% force health protection success as evidenced by Naval Hospital Rota’s selection for this and other awards,” said Navy Cmdr. David Paz, Rota’s chief medical officer.

The Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center in Ft. Hood, Texas, also recognized dozens of staff members who quickly adapted to their new reality.

“The biggest contributors were open communication, team collaboration, and knowledge-sharing, as well as encouragement and massive cross-training,” said Sonya Woodson, chief of patient safety at Ft. Hood. “It was instrumental in the team’s ability to not only overcome challenges, but create multiple avenues to delivering health care innovations.”

Another example was Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where more than 100 staff members were recognized.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a spotlight, of course, on our health care heroes,” said Executive Officer Navy Capt. Anja Dabelić. “Through teamwork, resiliency and championing, Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay staff has adapted to these challenges through multi-disciplinary teams and a COVID-19 task force.”

Measures taken at Naval Hospital Guantanamo Bay included the construction of a triage center, quarantine tent, a negative pressure isolation center, single points of entry for patients and staff and a drive-through pharmacy.

“This is truly a peer-to-peer award, and you all spent a lot of time putting in the effort to recognize your peers at the front line of what military medicine is all about,” said Dr. Brian Lein, DHA assistant director for health care administration, “patient safety, focusing on the patient, and going that extra mile in support of staff that are around you.”

The DHA Patient Safety Program is accepting and reviewing submissions for the next round of awards. Military hospitals and clinics can nominate as many individuals and teams as they wish.

Anyone with questions about the award can email the Patient Safety Program. To nominate an individual or team, please visit the 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 page on the Patient Safety Learning Center site.

You also may be interested in...

Consolidated Department of Defense Coronavirus Disease 2019 Force Health Protection Guidance

Policy

Consolidates and updates the Department’s guidance regarding vaccination verification, vaccination status, COVID-19 testing, surveillance and screening testing, personnel protection on-site mask requirements, (e.g., DHA military medical treatment facilities, meetings, travel), and the protection of personally identifiable information.

DHA-IPM 20-004: Department of Defense (DOD) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Implementation

Policy

Establishes the Defense Health Agency’s procedures to implement instructions, assign responsibilities, and prescribe procedures for the DHA’s implementation of the DOD’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination Attestation, Screening Testing, and Vaccination Verification

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance on the implementation of vaccination, attestation, and testing requirements in accordance with the References listed in Attachment 1 to reduce the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Medical Logistics Guidance for the DoD Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program

Policy

Establishes the DHA's procedures for ordering, receiving, and managing COVID-19 Vaccines inventory and ancillary kits for enduring COVID-19 support.

TAB A MEO COVID19 Medical Coding Policy

Policy

Memorandum for DHA Staff - Military Medical Treatment Facilities to Implement Updated DHA COVID-19 Medical Coding Policy

DHA COVID19 Medical Coding PolicyV5 1v

Policy

Establishes the DHA procedures to standardize the coding for Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) within military medical treatment facilities (MTFs). This memorandum replaces DHA-Policy Memorandum 20-003 of July 1, 2020. Attachment 1 was updated to include the 2021 procedure and diagnosis codes for COVID-19, including the new vaccination and treatment codes.

Supplemental Guidance for Providing DOD Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccines to DOD Contractor Employees and Select Foreign Nationals

Policy

This memorandum provides supplemental guidance on the provision of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines, in accordance with reference (a). The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is the lead coordinating DOD Component for executing this guidance, in coordination with the Military Departments and other DOD Components as appropriate.

HA Guidance for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Laboratory Pre-Testing Questionnaire

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance for a COVID-19 laboratory pre-testing questionnaire that will be mandatory for all Active Duty Service members and encouraged for all other DOD beneficiaries treated at military medical treatment facilities.

Executive Order on Ensuring Access to United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines

Policy

This EO outlines who should receive priority access to COVID-19 vaccines developed in the United States or procured by the United States Government (“United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines”).

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccine Guidance

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance on the provision of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines. The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is the lead coordinating DOD Component for executing this guidance, in coordination with the Military Departments and other DOD Components.

Return to the Workplace Staffing Plan in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Environment

Policy

Establishes the DHA's plan to return to full operations and support the whole-of-government response, during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic

Military Medical Treatment Facilities to Implement Updated DHA COVID-19 Medical Coding Policy

Policy

The Defense Health Agency (DHA) Memorandum, based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) and (d), establishes the DHA’s procedures to standardize the coding for Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Military Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs). This memorandum cancels and replaces DHA- Policy Memorandum 20-003 of (13 April 2020). A change was issued since the cancelled Memorandum 20-003 of (13 April 2020), the Attachment titles were updated to reflect that Attachments 1, 2, and 4 are considered Policies as opposed to Guidance.

Army MEDCOM Regulation 40-41: Medical Service – The Patient Safety Program

Policy

This regulation outlines the activities of the Army Medical Department (AMEDD) Patient Safety Program (PSP) to identify and centrally report actual and potential events in medical/dental systems and processes and to improve patient safety and healthcare quality throughout the AMEDD.

Prevention of Retained Surgical Items Standard Operation Procedure

Policy

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance to perioperative personnel for prevention of unintended retained surgical items during operative or other invasive procedures.

Trusted Care Concept of Operations

Policy

This Trusted Care concept of operations (CONOPS) describes the transformation of the Air Force Medical Service into a high reliability healthcare system. High reliability organizations (HROs), as originally described in the nuclear power and aviation industries, consistently achieve better-than-expected outcomes despite operating in complex or high-risk environments.

<< < 1 2 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 2
Refine your search
Last Updated: March 08, 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