USAMMDA Interns Graduate With Invaluable Army Medical Acquisition Experience

By Ashley Force, USAMRDCJuly 8, 2020

Program Management-Acquisition interns from the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity stand 6-feet apart amid the COVID-19 pandemic to take one last picture at Nallin Pond Farm, Fort Detrick, Maryland, before completing their internship. Left to right: Army Maj. Christopher Morgan, Army Maj. Edilberto Santos, Army Maj. Frank Liles, and Army Capt. Alexandra Fajardo. (Photo Credit: Ms. Carey Phillips, USAMRDC) VIEW ORIGINAL

The U.S. Army is gaining four well-rounded officers versed in the defense acquisition system. Army Capt. Alexsandra Fajardo, Army Maj. Frank Liles, Army Maj. Edilberto Santos, and Army Maj. Christopher Morgan make up the graduating class of the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity’s Program Management–Acquisition Internship Program. This one-year program, which falls under the Long-term Health Education and Training program within the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, better equips the interns to serve in the world of Army acquisition.

“The training the officers get in the program will benefit them throughout their careers,” said Army Col. Ryan Bailey, 8X medical acquisition consultant for The Army Surgeon General.  “Their new knowledge and skills will help them deliver medical solutions to the Warfighter quicker.”

The PM–AIP provides the officers with an understanding of the Army requirements process, the defense acquisition system, and the planning, programming, budgeting and execution process. Through this program, the interns complete all coursework for level-two Program Management certification. The PM–AIP requires them to spend one year completing all institutional Defense Acquisition University requirements, while completing on-the-job training supporting product cost, schedule and performance. After the interns finish their year at USAMMDA, they must complete two years of utilization.

“This experience allowed me to develop relationships with our civilian workforce, something that I haven’t had the opportunity to do thus far,” said Fajardo. “I have mainly served in medical brigades and tactical units. Being able to see how we can work together with civilians was very impressive to me.”

This is USAMMDA’s third year hosting interns, and this particular group has made quite the impact on the organization. For example, when COVID-19 took the world by storm, Morgan demonstrated flexibility and dedication when he transitioned from the Warfighter Protection and Acute Care Project Management Office, to Force Health Protection in response to the worldwide pandemic.

“He was kind enough to step in and help us with treatment protocols in response to COVID-19 and work as the product manager for the expanded access Investigational New Drug protocol for convalescent plasma. He has done an amazing job,” said Army Lt. Col. Sandi Parriott, director, Force Health Protection Division.

“You all are amazing. The insight you brought from your previous organizations and your job experience has contributed tremendously to our ability to move programs forward successfully,” said Dr. Tyler Bennett, project manager for Warfighter Deployed Medical Systems PMO.

At USAMMDA, the interns were exposed to the bigger Army Medicine picture, which only broadened their initial bank of knowledge. They were assigned to a PMO and given guidance while assisting in the procurement of medical products.

“I was assigned to the Warfighter Health Performance and Evacuation PMO. I was lucky enough to assist with the TEMPER Air Supported Shelters. I also worked with the Water Distribution and Waste Water Management Set, and even got to experience a fielding,” said Liles.

After graduating from the PM–AIP, the interns will be going their separate ways and moving on to new roles. Fajardo will be moving forward to Virginia to work as a program manager for the Defense Health Agency Headquarters, while Liles is projected to be the plans officer for the G357 at the Army Medical Logistics Command at Fort Detrick. Morgan will be completing utilization as a product manager, working with the same USAMMDA team he was assigned to during his internship, the Warfighter Protection and Acute Care PMO. Santos is moving on to Washington, DC, to serve as a Department of the Army Systems Coordinator and Executive Officer, Medical Systems, for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology.

“Our year is over. To my fellow interns, we have come a long way. I hope to maintain our working relationship throughout our careers in Army acquisition,” said Santos.

With one year of hands-on training behind them, these four Army officers maintain that they are more familiarized with Army Acquisition than ever before. They can now move forward with confidence toward the bright futures that lie ahead of them.

“I want to congratulate the interns on their hard work this year. The Army needs you. We are looking forward to you getting to your next assignments and doing a great job,” said Bailey.

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