Public Health Command-Atlantic welcomes new leader

By Lisa Rhodes, Fort Meade Public AffairsJune 19, 2018

Public Health Command-Atlantic Change of Command
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Col. Patrick A. Donahue assumed leadership of the Public Health Command-Atlantic in a change-of-command ceremony on June 7 at Club Meade.

"I'm proud to be on your team and look forward to providing innovative, relevant and technically competent public health expertise," Donahue said.

Col. James D. Grady relinquished command after serving for two years. He will serve as a U.S. Army War College Fellow at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health in Washington, D.C.

Donahue completed the same fellowship before assuming his present duties.

Brig. Gen. Telita Crosland, commanding general of Regional Health Command-Atlantic, served as the officiant.

Fort Meade Deputy Garrison Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Stephen Pratel Sr. gave the invocation. Staff Sgt. Kyra White sang the national anthem and the Federal Brass Quartet of the U.S. Army Field Band provided a musical prelude.

Ready To Command

Public Health Command-Atlantic provides regionally focused preventative medicine, veterinary service and health promotion support to the Army in a 26-state area of responsibility, stretching from Maine to the Florida Keys and as far west as the Mississippi. The command also serves Puerto Rico and Cuba.

Currently, approximately 800 professionals are spread across the Public Health Command-Atlantic area of operations, serving in four Public Health Command activities. Personnel provide services across the full spectrum of public health disciplines and are divided into five divisions: Environmental Health Engineering, Veterinary Services, Occupational Health Sciences, and Health Risk Management and Laboratory Sciences.

"If ever someone was groomed for this command, it is Colonel Patrick A. Donahue," Crosland said at the ceremony.

She said Donahue has assumed command in an "important time in Army Medicine as we transform" and he understands the transformation "from the strategic to the tactical level."

"I'm extremely grateful to have you join the Public Health team and lead us during this pivotal time in Army Medicine history," she said.

Donahue graduated from West Virginia University in 1994 with a degree in environmental protection. A Distinguished Military Graduate of the Army ROTC program, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant to the Medical Service Corps.

His assignments included the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine at Aberdeen Proving Ground; the 1st Infantry Division, Kitzingen, Germany; the 44th Medical Command (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C.; Office of the Surgeon General, Falls Church, Va., the U.S. Army Public Health Command Region-West, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; and the Pentagon.

In 2003, Donahue deployed to Iraq as part of the Task Force-20 Initial Entry Force and in 2004 as the Force Health Protection Officer with the 44th Medical Command (Airborne).

In 2005, Donahue was selected to represent the Army at the strategic level as a Training with Industry Research Fellow with LMI in McClean, Va. At the Pentagon, he served as an environmental science and engineer staff officer for the assistant chief of staff for Installation Management and then as a special assistant to the 32nd, 33rd and 34th vice chiefs of staff of the Army.

After departing the Pentagon in 2013, Donahue served as the commander of the U.S. Public Health Command District-Fort Hood, Texas, until the summer of 2015.

Afterward, he was the professor of military science for the Georgetown University Army ROTC program. He then became a U.S. Army War College Fellow at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Crystal-Clear Vision

Crosland said Grady commanded the unit with distinction and worked to meet the mission of "promoting, sustaining and enhancing" public health, veterinary services and health promotion."

She said Grady led "front and center," and his trust in his team enabled them to "execute without fail."

In his remarks, Grady said he hoped he left the unit "with a crystal-clear vision of our 'why' -- that the readiness and health of our human and animal warriors is why we are here."

Grady said the unit worked to ensure Army's readiness in fitness and preparedness to deploy "as well as our own ability and competence to care for those who will bear the brunt of the battle."

Grady then directed his comments to the unit.

"Public Health men and women, always remember your purpose and be proud of it," he said. "For it is an honorable one. … It's truly been an honor and privilege to serve with you."

In his remarks, Donahue said he looked forward to "sharing ideas, building relationships and forging a path" in support of the military health system transformation.

"We will continue to be the foundation of a medically ready force," he said.

Donahue then quoted Thomas Edison, who said "the doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will educate his patients in the care of the human frame in diet and the cause and prevention of disease."

Donahue said that with the individual and collective efforts of the command, "we will one day see Edison's prediction become a reality."