Col. Donald West, accepts the guideon of the Northern Regional Medical Command from Lt. Gen. Patricia Horobo, Surgeon General and Commander, U.S. Army Medical Command, during a change of command ceremony Tuesday, in Thurman Auditorium, Fort Belvoir.

Brig. Gen. Joseph Caravalho Jr. relinquished command of the Northern Regional Medical Command to interim commander Col. Donald West during a ceremony in Thurman Hall Tuesday.

Caravalho served as a key player in transforming the unit and Army medicine from a healthcare system to a system for health. He will serve as the commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Material Command in his next assignment.

"General Caravalho is one of Army medicine's greatest assets," said Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, U.S. Army Medical Command surgeon general and relinquishment of command ceremony host.

Caravalho was commissioned as a Medical Corps Regular Army Captain in 1983. His awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Achievement Medal with three oak leaf clusters.

Caravalho assumed command of NRMC in July 2011 and the unit has improved healthcare for approximately 4,000 Soldiers in transition during his tour, he said.

The region comprises 20 states and the District of Columbia, and also provides care to Family members and eligible beneficiaries.

Caravalho thanked all the Soldiers, civilians and Families who helped the unit achieve success. His speech was filled with serious points of reflection and gratitude, but he also offered light-hearted moments.

"Every command is important but I like to think that Northern Regional Medical Command is MEDCOM's most complex, highest up-tempo, highest visibility command," Caravalho said. "At least, this is what I dreamt last night."

Horoho applauded Caravalho for his leadership and development of a workforce capable of guiding Army medicine into the future.

"He believes in selfless service and patriotic duty to country and instills those values in his staff," Horoho said. "His broad experience, not just clinical experience as a physician, but also his academic, administrative, executive and public policy skills, make him one of our country's outstanding leaders and physician executives."

Horoho said Caravalho is one of the leaders helping Army medicine transform from a healthcare system to a system for health.

This transformation includes providing timely access to care, consistent coordination of Family care, and shifting the focus from treatment of illness and care for the dying to the promotion of wellness and the prevention of disease, among other initiatives Caravalho said.

Army medicine is also focusing on the "performance triad" of sleep, activity and nutrition to improve the wellbeing of Soldiers and Families.

"This is a significant paradigm shift to how medicine is practiced today," Caravalho said. "I dare say the civilian medical community is watching Army medicine closely."

The NRMC's transformation will continue under the leadership of interim commander West.

"Right now, we typically treat symptoms after you've gotten sick but we want to instill more preventive measures up front so that you can take more ownership of your health care," West said.

West, commissioned as a Medical Service Corps lieutenant in 1983, is a graduate of the Army Medical Department Officer basic and advanced courses. His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster and the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters. West said he expects NRMC employees to continue to provide great leadership and healthcare.

"Don and his team have my full confidence and I know under your leadership Northern Regional Medical Command will continue to provide the best care for Soldiers, Families and beneficiaries," Horoho said to West during her speech.

Page last updated Tue January 15th, 2013 at 00:00