The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command announced the winners of the 2017 Decision Gate Awards during a ceremony at Fort Detrick, Maryland, on Feb. 6.

The Decision Gate process was implemented in 2005 as a way for the USAMRMC to manage its medical materiel development efforts. However, the Decision Gate process is much more; it's an overarching process that integrates Department of Defense acquisition processes with U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements and industry business practices. The ultimate goal of the Decision Gate process is to focus materiel development efforts, whether Army or Defense Health Program funded, on meeting DOD medical requirements as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Lt. Col. David Saunders, co-winner for the Rookie of the Year Award and Extremity Repair program manager at the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity, appreciates how the process allows users to have the ability to see the bigger picture.

"The Decision Gate process allows us, as product developers, to objectively and transparently evaluate an often large, competitive field of candidates while always keeping the needs of the Warfighter in our sights," shared Saunders.

Lt. Col. Mara Kreishman-Deitrick concurs that it is an invaluable tool for her as a product developer.
"The Decision Gate process has been an invaluable tool for me as a product developer. Not only does it streamline and tailor the DOD acquisition process for the unique aspects of medical products, but it provides a framework in which all the right disciplines have a seat at the table, and have input from the very beginning to ensure success," said Kreishman-Deitrick, whose work on the Next Generation Malaria Drug Integrated Product Team won IPT of the Year.

"The annual awards are an opportunity to acknowledge the people and teams that put in an immense amount of hard work to move their programs forward over the last year," said Robert Steigerwald, chief of the USAMRMC Research, Development and Acquisition Support Office. Winners of the 2017 USAMRMC Decision Gate Awards were chosen via nominations from sources which include the integrated product teams, program area directorates, project management offices, support staff and senior leaders.

Awards were presented by Dr. Kenneth Bertram, the USAMRMC Principal Assistant for Acquisition.
During the awards, Bertram voiced his appreciation for the Decision Gate staff and for all of those that nominated their colleagues for an award as well as the nominees and winners for their dedication to the Warfighter.

"The reality is that no one here shows up at work to win an award -- you show up to take care of the Warfighter. Everyone that was mentioned and everyone that is here contribute every day to taking care of the Warfighter. Many of you have been in the military, have friends or family in the military, and it's not just a job. At the same time, excellence does need to be recognized, and that is what the awards process is about. You have nominated those that you believe to have done an excellent job. Sometimes it is a very tough choice to select a winner. I want you to recognize though that you all contribute, you all make a difference," said Bertram.

This Decision Gate Awards ceremony is Bertram's last before he retires in the spring. Recognizing the importance of delivering products to the Service Member as quickly and efficiently as possible, Bertram has been a strong supporter of the Decision Gate process since its inception.

"Dr. Bertram has been instrumental in helping ensure the Decision Gate process was fully implemented across the command to maximize the benefit to our developmental efforts," said Steigerwald. "The results of his and all other Decision Gate participants' efforts since 2009 include the fielding of eight Decision Gate products -- the ultimate Decision Gate goal -- and the achievement of 40 milestone decisions that advanced our development efforts towards delivery of critical medical capabilities."

Award winners in seven categories include:

• USAMRMC Legal Team -- Best Staff Support
• Dr. Mark Dertzbaugh -- Most Valuable PLRC Member
• Mr. Thomas Dunn -- Best Brief of the Year
• Dr. Jonathan Fruendt -- Most Valuable IPT Member
• Dr. Clifford Snyder -- IPT Chair of the Year
• Lt. Col. David Saunders and Leigh Anne Alexander (tied) -- Decision Gate Rookies of the Year
• Next Generation Malaria Drug IPT -- IPT of the Year