Army public health pioneer remembered

By Monica Bullock, Public Affairs Intern, Amry Public Health CenterJuly 12, 2017

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Dr. Charles Noel Statham, former Public Health Command Region-Europe Scientific Advisor and Laboratory Sciences' Laboratory and Technical Director, passed away in his home May 11, 2017. He will be remembered for being an integral member of the Army public health team.

"There is so much goodness and greatness to remember about Dr. Statham, personally and professionally," said Steven Jones, program director of Force Readiness and Health Assurance Policy, who knew Statham for many years, ranging over four tours in Germany.

Jones said he would always remember his Olympic accomplishments, which he referred to as "gold rings and included the five accreditations that validated the world-class lab he built over many years. "I know of no one who worked so hard, so relentlessly, and so steadily to achieve his vision," Jones said. "The lab as it exists today reflects his legacy of dedication to those we serve."

A native Coloradan, Statham grew up in Estes Park. After graduating high school, he went on to gain a bachelor's degree from University of Northern Colorado and then a master's degree and two doctoral degrees from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Toxicology and Pharmacology.

Statham began his career as a research scientist at the National Institutes of Health, publishing numerous peer-reviewed articles, before moving to Germany and joining the Department of the Army in 1982. He then joined the 10th Medical Laboratory as the director of the Forensic Toxicology Section and became the director of the Toxicology Department in 1987. This position eventually led to him becoming the scientific advisor and Laboratory Sciences' laboratory and technical director for the Public Health Command Region -- Europe in 1994.

Statham was a committed advocate of quality in the analytical process of laboratories. A longtime colleague, Col. (Ret.) Phillip Perkins, former commander of the 10th Medical Lab that transitioned to CHPPM Europe, said he thought one of the most important contributions Statham made during his career was his insistence on reproducible high quality services.

"Chuck was a pioneer in establishing and documenting all laboratory procedures and creating a quality assurance program that would ensure proper sample tracking and analysis from start to finish." Perkins said. "Now expected practice in all accredited laboratories, it was cutting edge back then."

His work in the creation of a quality system resulted in several achievements during his career. During his 38 years as an Army Civilian, he received numerous certifications and awards including the Commander's Award for Civilian Service, Department of the Army Achievement Medal, the Meritorious Civilian Service Award and Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service. At his retirement, his colleagues dedicated a wing of the newly built laboratory to him.

"Chuck was an energetic, visionary and talented leader of unparalleled integrity," said Dr. Heinz Stahl, director of Laboratory Sciences in Public Health Command, Europe, who became a member of Statham's team at USAREUR Materiel, Equipment and Oil Analysis Lab in Mannheim, Germany in 1996. "Taking care of his staff always was his top priority; he demanded a lot, but also from himself."

Statham's co-workers said he expressed enthusiasm and dedication not only to his work, but to his personal passions as well, which encompassed travelling, Volksmarching, racing with the Porsche Club of America, Germany Region, skiing, hiking, running, biking and nature photography.

"He was the most gracious and thoughtful person to have had the honor to call a friend," said Laura Mitvalsky, director of Health Promotion and Wellness at APHC.

Statham is survived by his wife Alexandrine "Alex" Bartlett.

Statham retired to Taos, New Mexico in 2014, where he and Alex fell in love with the beauty of the mountains and the people.

His family as well as his many friends and colleagues will dearly miss him, but will continue to honor and remember both his professional and personal achievements in life.

"He impressed all who knew and worked with him," said Jones. "More importantly, he left a lasting impression of what rightness looks like and what it takes to get it right: hard, dedicated, passionate work. [He was] the consummate professional, a dedicated leader who walked the talk, put his people first, and one who taught us all about the importance of quality in all we do."

Related Links:

Army Public Health Center