NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland (Dec. 10, 2020) – Army Medical Specialist Corps officer Lt. Col. George A. Barbee has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Andrew Craige Allied Health Professional Award.
Barbee is among a select group to be honored during the awards program of the 129th AMSUS, The Society of Federal Health Professionals Annual Meeting, which will be hosted virtually Dec. 6-10.
The AMSUS Annual Meeting is touted as the only conference where federal health leadership and professionals come together to share news of innovative medical advances, superior practices in patient care, and results of collaborative efforts. This year’s theme is “Federal Health: A Global Vision Beginning in Your Community.”
Each year, federal healthcare professionals are recognized by AMSUS for significant accomplishments that have resulted in a meaningful impact on their mission or organization. The Allied Health Award is one of several individual professional awards which recognize the leadership role of federal allied healthcare professionals in the transformation of their practice(s) by working closely with other healthcare providers to optimize treatment in a safe, efficacious and cost-effective manner.
To win the award, an individual must demonstrate impact on patient outcomes through the provision of care and the ability to affect the appropriate, effective, safe and cost-effective treatment within the institution where the individual practices. He or she also must show the ability to educate patients, students, healthcare practitioners and administrators on appropriate, effective, safe, and cost-effective treatment. Finally, the individual should contribute to the knowledge of their individual discipline through presentations, publication, or research.
Barbee has served in the U.S. Army for 33 years and began his medical career as a Special Forces medic, which inspired him to become a physician assistant. He completed the Inter-service Physician Assistant Training Program and was later commissioned a Medical Specialist Corps officer.
“I was honored to be nominated for this award,” said Barbee, who currently serves as the director for Force Innovation and Modernization at the Joint Medical Augmentation Unit, U.S. Special Operations Command. “I am fortunate and blessed to be in a position to work for senior leaders who have made it a priority to recognize their subordinates. I will do my best to continue that trend.”
Barbee has deployed on numerous occasions, serving in every role of care in combat and garrison while caring for wounded warriors throughout the continuum of care that begins at (or near) the point of injury, damage control resuscitation/surgery, critical care transport, and recovery. Barbee said, “This taught me the importance of constantly improving my skills so I could be better equipped to care for our force.”
As a Special Operations Surgical Team Leader, Barbee has deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Freedom’s Sentinel, and Inherent Resolve. He has also deployed to support defense operations in Central and South America.
Barbee’s most important contributions include the following:
• pushed use of whole blood at or near the point of injury and through the continuum of care where he drafted the policy for training and implementation;
• resourced for the Army and the Department of Defense to include aerial delivery testing of whole blood for Joint Forcible Entry operations and delivery in austere military medical settings;
• initiated a human performance optimization program and a strength and conditioning program;
• led an effort for emergency department provider-level triage study to further increase medical readiness.
Barbee also assisted Womack Army Medical Center (WAMC) in their attainment of the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma and the State of North Carolina Level III Trauma verification and designation paving the way for military trauma training in an effort to close the gap between operational and academic medicine. He crafted hospital policy and manning documents that led to the success of WAMC’s trauma initiative and aided in decreasing emergency department wait times by 44%. This shortened the length of stay by 5%, which significantly decreased patient risk.
Barbee’s efforts have greatly contributed to the use of provider level triage throughout many military and civilian hospitals.
Barbee’s career encompasses several notable achievements. He has completed a broadening assignment as a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Service Chiefs' Fellow; deployed for multiple tours of duty in support of the Global War on Terrorism since 2003; played an integral role in the development of the Department of Defense’s doctoral program for Physician Assistants; and honored by the Army as the 2020 Hero of Military Medicine.
Barbee is currently enrolled in the Army War College, and his educational credentials include a Doctorate of Science in Emergency Medicine in Physician Assistant Studies from Baylor University, a Master of Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and a Bachelor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
“I want to continue to improve the battlefield survivability of our force and the medical continuum of care,” Barbee said.
When asked what advice he would offer to other Medical Specialist Corps officers, Barbee admitted he lives by a set of specific yet simple principles.
“Show up, be present, be consistent, represent what is best in all of us,” he explained. “Do your very best every day, and try to input something positive in the system that will save the warriors yet to be born.”