By Mr. Jeffrey M Soares (Army Medicine)June 27, 2019
Before a large audience gathered within the Fort Detrick Auditorium, the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity held a Change of Command ceremony to welcome Army Col. Gina E. Adam as USAMMDA's fourteenth commander and the first woman to lead the organization, June 26. Responsibility of the command was transferred from Army Col. John Ryan Bailey, who has led USAMMDA for the past two years.
Army Maj. Gen. Barbara R. Holcomb, commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command and Fort Detrick, officiated the formal ceremony, which was witnessed by family, friends, Service Members and other distinguished guests. As part of a longstanding military ritual, Holcomb played a key role in passing the USAMMDA flag from the outgoing to the incoming commander.
Beginning with a reflection on Bailey's time as commander, Holcomb addressed the audience.
"If I could choose only one word to describe this past year for USAMMDA, I would choose the word change -- and I'm sure that Ryan would be one of the first people to agree with me," she said. "Supporting USAMMDA's mission was a great feat alone, but doing it while simultaneously realigning with USAMMA [U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency] put him to the test. To Ryan's credit, he is a complete professional who is open to change and willing to adjust any process to meet the mission."
Holcomb continued her praise of Bailey by commenting on his effective leadership style.
"…Ryan authentically cares," she said. "He made the happiness and success of staff, in regard to their particular roles and responsibilities, a priority. … Thank you for being such a strong advocate for the USAMMDA mission over the last two years."
Holcomb then shifted her focus to Adam, stating, "We are fortunate to have an incoming commander who is no stranger to the USAMRDC and our mission."
"Gina has proven herself to be a problem solver, team builder, and change agent," said Holcomb. "…She pays great attention to detail and uses this trait to connect with her staff -- learning about their job descriptions, as well as their lives."
"Her accomplishments and attributes, combined with 19 years of active-duty experience, show why Gina is the perfect person to take charge of USAMMDA. … Not only is USAMMDA gaining a great strategic commander, but in Gina, they will have a results-oriented commander who cares about the mission and the team."
At the conclusion of Holcomb's comments, Bailey approached the podium to offer encouragement to his former team, and to the new commander leading the USAMMDA mission.
"I am truly honored to have been given the responsibility to command USAMMDA, and these past two years have been truly amazing," he said. "The time spent in command has been fun, exciting, stressful -- some days exhilarating and some days frustrating -- but honestly, my time here has been less about me and more about the organization, the great mission, the challenges, the successes, and the tremendous people of USAMMDA. And that's really what it comes down to -- our people."
Bailey continued by highlighting the changes to the organization, the success of its project management teams, and the dedication of the USAMMDA staff.
"Yes, it truly is challenging work, but it is great work," he said. "I'm very proud to be part of this special mission!"
"Gina, you are certainly the right leader to take USAMMDA to the next level, especially since you served here and understand the organization's unique mission. I wish you Godspeed and much success."
As Bailey stepped down from the podium, Adam quickly followed and was greeted by a round of applause. Her enthusiasm was evident, and the commander was visibly moved by the welcome. She began her speech by thanking those in attendance, and those involved in the planning and preparation of the ceremony.
"It is my honor and privilege to be selected to serve as the commander of USAMMDA," said Adam. "Major General Holcomb, I appreciate your support and confidence in my leadership skills and abilities, and I truly welcome the opportunity to serve the USAMRDC in this new position.
"Colonel Bailey, thank you for the phenomenal job you have done over the past two years, and for the guidance you have recently provided to me during our transition," she added. "I am so pleased to join this great team, which has a long history of developing and delivering quality medical capabilities to protect, treat, and sustain the health and welfare of our nation's Service Members."
Most recently, Adam served as director of the USAMRDC's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, where she led the organization in its mission to bring innovative telehealth solutions to both Warfighters and the Military Health System. Holding a doctoral degree in cognitive neuroscience, Adam has served the Army as a research psychologist, and has been involved in numerous military medical studies during her nearly twenty years of active-duty service.
Her past assignments include tours with the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory at Fort Rucker, Alabama, the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine in Natick, Massachusetts, and USAMMDA. First joining the USAMMDA team in 2011, Adam served as deputy project manager for the Neurotrauma and Psychological Health Project Management Office, where she helped to oversee research programs for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.
In addition to her doctoral degree, Adam holds a bachelor's degree in psychology, and has served as the command psychologist at the National Defense University, where she developed programs in resilience. Also, she has served as assistant professor of behavioral science at the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy in Washington D.C., where she taught Strategic Leadership, Industry Analytics and Industry Studies.
During a recent interview, Adam said that she grew up in the country, outside of a small town in eastern Pennsylvania. Her childhood in that particular part of the state may have influenced her love of the outdoors, which includes activities such as hiking, biking, camping and cross-country skiing. She is very familiar with Fort Detrick, and the surrounding area of Frederick, from her previous assignments on post. Adam said she enjoys dining at the city's wide variety of restaurants, and cycling along the "beautiful country roads" of Frederick County.
While in high school, Adam's path led her into the Army, as she was offered a college scholarship through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, or ROTC, program. After learning she could serve on active duty as a research psychologist, Adam realized the possibilities of a long-term military career, which she has since grown to love.
"I stumbled into the Army as a teenager, looking for a way ahead -- I stayed because I found a place where I felt I belonged," said Adam. "I am grateful to the Army family -- the extraordinary peers, Soldiers, Civilians, and contractors I've worked with throughout my career -- you are the reason I am standing here today. Early in my career, I never thought I'd be a commander of an Army unit, and now here I am, certainly due to many great colleagues and mentors, some of whom are here today. Thank you so much for your support.
"And finally, I am proud to be reunited with the USAMMDA family," she continued. "I served with you a few years ago, and like any family, you've grown. I'm excited to see your progress, with many new programs and projects, and I'm happy to be with you once again as we chart our path ahead. I look forward to our years together, and I will do my utmost to support you and our important mission to care for our Warfighters."
As a subordinate command of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, USAMMDA maintains a mission to develop and deliver quality medical capabilities to protect, treat and sustain the health of our nation's Service Members throughout the world.