By Wesley ElliottDecember 11, 2019
NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland - Col. Tawanna McGhee-Thondique was awarded the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS) Individual Professional Dentist Award on December 5, 2019, at the 2019 AMSUS Annual Meeting in National Harbor, Maryland.
The AMSUS Annual Meeting is for military healthcare professionals and leaders to improve the effectiveness, cohesiveness, and esprit de corps of the federal healthcare services. This year's meeting theme is, "Transforming Healthcare through Partnership and Innovation."
At the event, McGhee was recognized for having served the Army Medical Department for 18 years while her academic and clinical credentials place her in the top 1% of her profession. She joined the Army as the first female African-American Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon in the history of the Army Dental Corps.
"McGhee is a servant leader, fully committed to self-development, continuous process improvement, and developing all within her sphere of influence. Leaders like McGhee work diligently to sure up the foundation of Army Medicine and bring great credit upon the
Army, Army Medical Department and Army Dental Corps," said Mark Sweet, who nominated her for the award.
McGhee is a graduate of the Air War College, a Fellow of the International College of Dentistry, a 2018 Honorary Member of the Korean Military Medical Association, the recipient of the 2019 Army Dental Corps Chief Exceptional Service and Leadership Award, and the first female to command the Army's only dental command to be both Modification table of organization and equipment (MTOE) and Table of Distribution and Allowances (TDA).
"She is undoubtedly worthy of the 2019 AMSUS Dentist Award," said Sweet.
McGhee has served as the team lead for a multilateral, multi-service mission, and has worked along-side Allied partners from Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, and the United Kingdom to improve disaster response preparedness and enhance relationships in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region. In 2018, she deployed for Operation Spartan Shield-Kuwait and Operation Freedom Sentinel-Afghanistan.
She executed Operation Saberwire, an expeditionary dental service support at Northwest Regional Joint Correction Facility, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, providing $40,000 in dental services to inmates. Dental readiness increased 200% and the mission mitigated $100,000 in transportation and security costs.
As Commander of the 618th Dental Company (Area Support) and Dental Health Activity-Korea, McGhee established the first Korean American Educational Exchange Program, the DanKook University Dental School. The school improves collaboration, ongoing research, academic advancements in the field of dentistry, and strengthen host nation relations.
McGhee is also the first Army Dentist to lecture at the Asia Pacific Dental Congress where she provided her experience on combat triage with over 20,000 conference attendees from other military medical organizations.