JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - Algoma, Wisconsin native, Maj. Kathleen Hamilton, a 7th Infantry Division medical logistics officer, was named recipient of the 2017 U.S. Army Medical Department Professional Medical Logisticians' Leadership Award in the category of "Health Service Material Officer."
Presented by the Army Surgeon General each year, this award is given to individuals who have clearly demonstrated to the Army exceptional leadership skills, technical competence, professionalism, and customer service in the medical logistics field.
Nominated by Maj. Gen. William Burleson, the 7th Inf. Division commanding general, for her knowledge of medical logistics and willingness to assist units across the installation, Hamilton is recognized and valued as a subject matter expert on JBLM.
"Maj. Hamilton identified numerous gaps within 7th Inf. Div. medical logistic policies and procedures that left command groups providers, and patients at risk," said Burleson. "She revised Command Logistics Discipline program inspection checklists and Materiel Readiness Reviews to align current regulations, directives, and policies to ensure the highest standards."
Hamilton credits the Soldiers who assisted in the process of fixing these issues for the opportunity to even be nominated for the award.
"I'm honored for the award," Hamilton said. "But I see it as a platform to advocate for a specialty area that tends to be neglected. For me, I'm passionate in what I do and to be able to take this opportunity to talk about my field and what part we play in unit readiness."
Medical logistics is the logistics of pharmaceuticals, medical and surgical supplies, medical devices and equipment. In addition, it also takes care of the logistics for other products needed to support doctors, nurses and other health and dental care providers.
Medical personnel are responsible for the lives and health of their patients. Because of this, medical logistics is unique in that it seeks to optimize effectiveness rather than efficiency.
"It's all about educating Soldiers, commanders, and medical personnel about what it would mean to fall into a combat zone with near-peer adversaries and an unestablished supply chain," explained Hamilton. "Educating and informing them on what it takes to be self-sustaining and not being able to evacuate."
There are multiple factors that goes into making sure units have the right medical equipment and supplies on-hand in addition to ensuring those units have a steady resupply.
"These young medical officers need to be able to anticipate what and how much they need for their specific mission," said Hamilton. "It's all part of a process -- 'What should you have?' What things should you consider?' -- and it actually goes back to infantry tactic which is really weird.
"You have to factor in terrain, troops, and time -- all those things are applicable but on the logistics-side of the house."
"It all comes down to readiness," Hamilton added. "We have a huge role in readiness and we need to be diligent and ready. We have to transition away from what we're used to and to what could be."