The Graduate Medical Education (GME) Program, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, held a graduation ceremony for GME residents here June 21.

Nineteen Army officers graduated from their respective residency and fellowship programs in Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Family Medicine Obstetrics Fellowship and the U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing.

CRDAMC Graduate Medical Education programs train and educate the next generation of healthcare providers, teaching them to provide compassionate, world-class healthcare, one patient at a time. GME provides interns, residents and fellows evidence-based didactics, hands on and direct patient care in a patient-rich environment with the support of a broad-based subspecialty medical campus.

Guest speaker for the ceremony was Brig. Gen. Jeffrey J. Johnson, commanding general, Army Medicine Regional Health Command-Central, who reflected on the challenges and expectations of the new graduates as both officers and physicians.

"Our nation is quite fortunate you have chosen to wear the uniform of a Soldier and are graduating from a renowned graduate medical education training program like CRDAMC," Johnson said, encouraging them to reflect on the significance of their graduation as they move forward in their careers. "They'll be challenging times where you will need folks to lean into you. Make sure you take care of those relationships as you continue to move forward."

Johnson emphasized their success in both the Army and military medicine correlates to how they inspire others, embrace change and trust the Army's senior noncommissioned officers (NCO).

"To be a good leader you must cultivate an attitude of humility, interpersonal tact and empathy," the Family Medicine physician said, stressing putting others before self. "This is not only how you will function as a leader but those same traits will make you incredible physicians whether it's at the bedside or at the table."

A medical health-care provider who lacks those leadership attributes, Johnson stressed, could contribute to poor patient outcomes like "extended stays, improper care, incorrect use of prescribed medication and excessive repeat visits to an emergency department."

"Unfortunately many aspiring leaders only think and talk about what they believe is important without considering the motivation and the perspective of others," he said. "That's not a good path and it's not good leadership."

Johnson, reminded the graduates who will begin their new journey at military medical facilities worldwide, that leadership is a continuing trial and error learning process and to not be afraid of failure.

"Those are the ones that have stayed with me and spurred me to do the right thing the next time," he said. "Great patient care is great leadership, and we owe it to our patients and our staffs to be better leaders."

As military treatment facilities merge into the Defense Health Agency, Johnson told the graduates to embrace change.

"We all know change is inevitable, but that's exactly what we need to do to continue moving forward in our changing environment. Change always comes with an opportunity to succeed and, sometime, forge a new and a better plan than what we had before," he said, adding that transitioning toward a more integrated healthcare system will require "the stepping out of our comfort zones as we explore new opportunities, new integrations and the readiness that will be cultivated throughout our organization."

One valuable resource every Army officer needs to rely on are the senior NCOs, whom Johnson said are the differentiating factor that separates the military from all the rest of the medical profession.

"NCOs have incredible wisdom to share, and most importantly, it comes from a completely different perspective than yours," he said, stressing that some of the best lessons he learned during his early career were from his NCOs. "I wasn't always ready to hear what they had to say, but now, as I look back, it was very important, and it was exactly what I needed to hear."

Johnson also reminded them of their role in Army Medicine.

"Technology and standards are changing, and we need people like you to understand them and chart the way of the future," he said. "I'm confident that Army Medicine is very strong and has a strong future with each of you as you are about ready to join our ranks.

His final charge to the graduates reflected on mentoring.

"As you have been mentored and will continue to be mentored through your career, always find an opportunity to return the favor and to be a mentor to men and women of all ranks and all stages of life who are attempting to follow in your footsteps," he said.