Skip main navigation

Military Health System

Clear Your Browser Cache

This website has recently undergone changes. Users finding unexpected concerns may care to clear their browser's cache to ensure a seamless experience.

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

Image of 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)

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...

Report
Jan 1, 2003

MSMR Vol. 9 No. 3 – April 2003

.PDF | 471.85 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Hospitalizations among active duty members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2002; Ambulatory visits among active duty members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2002; Relative burdens of selected illnesses and injuries, U.S. Armed Forces, ...

Report
Jan 1, 2003

MSMR Vol. 9 No. 1– January 2003

.PDF | 179.42 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Malaria among active duty soldiers, U.S. Army, 2002; Mortality Trends among Active Duty Military Personnel, 1992-2001; ARD Surveillance Update; Reportable events, calendar year 2002; Sentinel Reportable Events, ...

Report
Jan 1, 2003

MSMR Vol. 9 No. 4 – May/June 2003

.PDF | 179.93 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Heat-related injuries, U.S. Army, 2002; Syncope, active duty, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2002; Pre-and post-deployment health assessments, U.S. Armed Forces, September 2002- June 2003; ARD Surveillance Update; ...

Report
Jan 1, 2003

MSMR Vol. 9 No. 6 – September/October 2003

.PDF | 177.11 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Incidence, severity, and trends of pneumonia/influenza and acute respiratory failure/pulmonary insufficiency, U.S. Armed Forces, January 1990-June 2003; Carbon monoxide poisoning, U.S. Armed Forces, January ...

Report
Jan 1, 2002

MSMR Vol. 8 No. 2 – March/April 2002

.PDF | 409.85 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Hospitalizations among active duty personnel; Ambulatory visits among active duty personnel; Reportable medical events among active duty personnel; Acute respiratory disease surveillance, U.S. Army; Relative ...

Report
Jan 1, 2002

MSMR Vol. 8 No. 4 – June 2002

.PDF | 169.11 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Heat-associated injuries, U.S. Army 1991-2002; Hematuria among active duty members, U.S. Armed Forces, 1999-2000; ARD surveillance update; Sentinel reportable events.

Report
Jan 1, 2002

MSMR Vol. 8 No. 8 – November/December 2002

.PDF | 176.31 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Alcohol disorders among active duty members, U.S. Armed Forces, January 1998 - March 2002; Frequency and nature of exposure concerns following recent major deployments: analyses of post-deployment questionnaire ...

Report
Jan 1, 2002

MSMR Vol. 8 No. 6 – August 2002

.PDF | 178.50 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Incidence rates and correlates of risk of herpes zoster, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2001; Rates and patterns of readmission after discharge from U.S. military hospitals, 2001; Sentinel reportable events; ARD ...

Report
Jan 1, 2002

MSMR Vol. 8 No. 7 – September/October 2002

.PDF | 304.94 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Cold weather injuries among active duty soldiers, U.S. Army, January 1997-July 2002; Cellulitis among active duty service members, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2001; Installation specific lost duty time reports: ...

Report
Jan 1, 2002

MSMR Vol. 8 No. 5– July 2002

.PDF | 241.02 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Urinary tract infections among active duty members, U.S. Armed Forces,1998-2002; ARD surveillance update; Pre- and post deployment health status assessments, U.S. Armed Forces, 2000-2002; Human immunodeficiency ...

Report
Jan 1, 2002

MSMR Vol. 8 No. 1 – January/February 2002

.PDF | 191.84 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Spontaneous ruptures of the achilles tendon,U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2001; Human immunodeficiency virus, type 1, screening compliance among active duty service members, U.S. Armed Forces, 2001; Rapidly ...

Report
Jan 1, 2002

MSMR Vol. 8 No. 3 – May 2002

.PDF | 157.75 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Malaria among active duty soldiers, U.S. Army, 2001; ARD surveillance update; Sentinel reportable events; Serogroup C meningococcal disease outbreak- Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, 2002.

Report
Jan 1, 2001

MSMR Vol. 7 No. 5 – May/June 2001

.PDF | 174.89 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Diagnoses of Clinical Obesity, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2000; Completeness and Timeliness of Reporting of Hospitalized Notifiable Cases, U.S. Army, 2000; Acute Side Effects of Anthrax Vaccine in ROTC Cadets ...

Report
Jan 1, 2001

MSMR Vol. 7 No. 8 – September/October 2001

.PDF | 212.14 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Disease and nonbattle injury surveillance among deployed U.S. Armed Forces: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Southwest Asia, July 2000-September 2001; Monthly installation injury surveillance reports: ...

Report
Jan 1, 2001

MSMR Vol. 7 No. 4 – April 2001

.PDF | 568.62 KB

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Hospitalizations among active duty personnel; Ambulatory visits among active duty personnel; Reportable medical events among active duty personnel; Relative burdens of selected illnesses and injuries; Acute ...

Skip subpage navigation
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 11, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery