Col. Warner
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Hospital Commander Col. Christopher Warner listens in a conversation with Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, the director of the Defense Health Agency during a visit to Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., on July 15. (Photo Credit: John Wayne Liston) VIEW ORIGINAL
The Madigan Mindset
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Madigan Mindset displays the organizational priorities of Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (Photo Credit: Odis Crosby) VIEW ORIGINAL

MADIGAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. – I have been in command for about seven weeks now and I want to take the opportunity to thank everybody for the warm reception for myself and my family. I also want to thank the organization and community partners for being so open and willing to share information to allow for a good assessment of the current capabilities so that a roadmap can be developed for the next couple of years, not only for Madigan but for how to leverage the Military Health System to support Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the greater Puget Sound military community.

As I consider the path ahead, I see four key priorities.

First, everything must start with our most valuable resource, which is our people. So, how do we take care of our people? How do we support them in their work and their lives? How do we ensure they know how valuable and valued they are? I think it all comes back to trust. To develop that, we must display integrity, clarity and transparency in our interactions and decision-making. This is true whether we are talking about dealing with patients, community partners or each other as teammates.

We have had so many stressors lately, from many different directions. Everything from finding new ways to continue to operate our services to concerns about our own health and the impact on our family members to the challenges of childcare have all been weighing on our minds. This is a time when the flexibility and understanding of our leaders is vital.

The second priority we are looking at is readiness. We must serve as a health readiness platform that trains and develops our military medical capabilities to be ready to deploy and take care of our service members on any mission, at any time and in any place.

Madigan is already an impressive health readiness platform, but we are always setting the bar higher. I see opportunities for growth and development. We will lean into our innovation and our partnerships to posture this organization to indisputably command the leading edge of military medicine. We will also continue to provide the military with a medically ready force by delivering the highest quality care both on the Lewis side of the base as well as in our support of our Airmen and women on the McChord side. COVID-19 has brought us into a support role with our Puget Sound partners in the Navy and even Coast Guard. These sorts of interactions will continue.

Partnership does not come without challenges, but as we consider potential threats and our role in supporting the national defense strategy, we will be required to be agile, adaptive and able to handle a high degree of challenge. I don’t really believe any of us signed up for anything less anyway. Not unlike COVID, a large scale deployment will take many of our best and brightest off our floors and will require the same level of high quality, safe and accessible care. On top of that, the potential for a high number of casualties returning to our hospital will require additional specialty care. That is precisely the type of requirement we are here to meet and exceed.

That brings us to the third priority, which is the bread and butter, the blocking and tackling of delivering that next level care. I believe we are blessed to care for the select few in our nation who have raised their hands and said, “Send me.” We also know it is not just the service member, but the families and those service members for life who have made the long-term commitment to defending our nation. So, we must have an equal commitment to them through the delivery of the highest level of care possible.

We also know that the care we give ties back into readiness. If we are not providing superior care, we are not staying ready. This is where our culture of excellence means that we not only meet the standard, but exceed it and perpetually set the bar higher.

That leads us to our last priority – investing in our future. We have over 40 graduate medical education, graduate nursing education and Soldier training programs in this organization. Our programs and trainees are repeatedly in the top tier not only within the military but nationally. They are the best and they deserve the best in the training we provide. They will be asked to not only provide the best level of care in ideal conditions, but also in the most austere and challenging environments in the world. With that in mind, we must continue to create the best training programs so the doctors, nurses, medics and techs who come out of Madigan can deploy anywhere in the world and immediately save lives.

The investment doesn’t end with the trainees, though. Our staff is over two-thirds civilian, so we must cultivate opportunities for growth and development for our entire team. We want those joining our team now to be alongside us, growing, improving and always bringing heightened skills to bear on our mission for the next 15, 20 or more years. I rotated here as a second lieutenant and medical student; now I am here as a colonel and hospital commander. We want the same sort of possibilities for all of our military and civilian teammates.

Looking forward, our senior leaders will be centering these priorities to develop our two-year roadmap. These priorities will drive hiring and budgetary considerations. We have more changes and challenges on the horizon, even when we are able to move past COVID-19. I expect involvement from all staff and they can expect clear communication and transparent decision-making in return.

Through COVID-19, we have adapted and innovated and will continue to make great use of the telehealth capabilities we have developed. We have also deepened important relationships that will be relied upon considerably as we look more and more upon the military health system as a whole.

Thank you for the warm welcome, I look forward to working with each of you.

Care with Compassion.

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