Following a year of intense dedication to the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command’s sprawling efforts to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic, LTC Michelle Colacicco-Mayhugh has been named a 2021 Heroes of Military Medicine award winner. The award, which honors outstanding contributions by individuals dedicated to advancing the ideals and reach of military medicine, is presented by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, Inc..
“It was obviously extremely exciting and surprising,” said Colacicco-Mayhugh, noting that she was unaware she’d even been nominated for the award until she received a congratulatory email from USAMRDC leadership. “My initial reaction was, honestly, that I had to read the email a few times to make sure I was comprehending what I was reading.”
Outside of her day-to-day posting as Military Deputy for the USAMRDC Principal Assistant for Acquisition, Colacicco-Mayhugh was additionally assigned to the USAMRDC’s COVID-19 Joint Acquisition Task Force early last year for a five-month period stretching from April to late September. Established by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, the JTAF was designed to support the acquisition and execution of the U.S. Department of Defense’s response to the pandemic via interagency support to any number of external federal organizations. In her capacity as JATF Vaccine Delivery Product Lead, Colacicco-Mayhugh focused chiefly on securing the vast quantities of syringes and needles required to physically deliver vaccinations to millions of Americans.
While the position demanded long days, long hours and substantial and intricate dealings with dozens of companies across the globe, Colacicco-Mayhugh is quick to point out her efforts were only part of the larger, combined USAMRDC team output.
“Everyone I’ve worked with has been completely dedicated to helping our Nation get through this,” she said. “One of the things that’s been nice to see is that people have really come together and done a great job in figuring out where the gaps were and where they could help.”
“Michelle is an amazing leader, supporting the entire DOD and Nation,” said Dawn Rosarius, USAMRDC Principal Assistant for Acquisition. “She coaches, mentors and educates her staff, peers and leaders to ensure accurate information and support are provided to our Warfighters and ultimately our Nation.”
Rosarius further points out that Colacicco-Mayhugh provided oversight of more than 400 million dollars in projects to ensure vaccine delivery during her time with the JATF; and additionally assisted in advancing military medicine in support of public law 115-92, which ultimately ensured U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of three key products (a malaria prevention drug, a malaria treatment drug and the laboratory assay for traumatic brain injury). According to Rosarius, all three novel efforts will make substantial headway in both preventing illness and saving the lives of U.S. Soldiers.
Says Colacicco-Mayhugh, “It’s all of us working together, and collectively we’ve been able to do some pretty impressive work.”
Colacicco-Mayhugh will officially receive her 2021 Heroes of Military Medicine award from the HJF in early May during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.