PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (June 27, 2022) – The Presidio of Monterey Dental Clinic officially became an Army Safety and Health Management System Star Strong facility during a ceremony at the clinic June 14.
Dr. (Maj.) Michael Kroll, officer in charge of the clinic, said the clinic’s new Safety Star banner shows that the clinic has passed a rigorous inspection process and is one of the safest dental clinics in the Army. “It’s not only the best care, but it’s the safest care in the Army,” he said.
The clinic falls under the command of Joint Base Lewis-McChord Dental Activity, and Col. Alfred “Andy” Anderson, commander of JBLM DENTAC, and Capt. Dylan Morgan, JBLM DENTAC safety officer, attended the presentation ceremony.
Anderson told clinic staff that Safety Star presentations are rare events, and it takes considerable effort to receive the award.
“A big part of that effort is everybody in here making this possible,” Anderson said. “Without the team, there is no way this would happen.”
Likewise, Morgan congratulated clinic personnel on achieving the award.
Kroll said staff members spent more than a year compiling information and developing standard operating procedures for the award. In all, personnel completed a 243-point checklist that focused on control, safety and health training, employee involvement, worksite analysis and hazard prevention. The Army Safety and Health Management System is similar to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Safety Star has its roots in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program.
By name, Gary Christensen, former safety officer at the clinic; Maj. Jarom Hansen, former clinic OIC; Maj. Giovanna Dainty, clinic safety officer; and Sgt. 1st Class Charles Taupau, clinic noncommissioned officer in charge, put a lot of work into the award, but everyone on the staff contributed, Kroll said.
“As far as making the Safety Star happen, every single person in the clinic, from the front desk to the lab technicians, had to be a part of it because we had to do safety inspections,” Kroll said. “Every person in our clinic has to do peer-to-peer safety inspections.”
Earning the star was particularly an achievement for the clinic, which is more than 850 miles from its command at JBLM, because inspectors viewed it as a standalone medical facility such as a hospital, Kroll said.
This meant clinic personnel had to develop their own standard operating procedures, safety binders, safety programs and relationships with local environmental compliance and control officials, Kroll said.
“When you actually look at the systems and policies and procedures we put in place here, it was much larger than a dental clinic getting inspected,” Kroll said. “It was like we were our own dental health activity getting the award.”
Kroll said he wants service members and their family members to know that the care patients receive at the PoM Dental Clinic is top quality.
“It’s high tech, but it’s also extremely safe,” Kroll said. “… I want to give our [service members and their families] that piece of mind that their tax dollars are well spent, we’re working hard to make sure that we keep their care safe and they’re getting the best care that they can possibly get.”