JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Oct. 24, 2022) -- The Brooke Army Military Center deputy commander for medical services received the inaugural Hero of Military Medicine San Antonio award from the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine Inc., Oct. 20.
U.S. Air Force Col. (Dr.) Heather Yun, an infectious diseases physician, accepted the award during a ceremony held at the San Antonio Botanical Gardens. The event recognized top researchers, practitioners, ambassadors, and champions of military medicine within the San Antonio community.
“Honesty, I don’t think of myself as a hero,” Yun said. “There are so many deserving people within military medicine, but I’m incredibly honored to be a recipient.”
HJF is a global nonprofit that administers more than $500 million in medical research funds annually. Since 1983, HJF has partnered with researchers and clinicians to provide bench to bedside to battlefield research support. More than 3,000 HJF teammates provide scientific, administrative and program operations services to researchers in the military, academia and private industry.
The Hero of Military Medicine award honors a military professional who demonstrates excellence in medical research or clinical care through compassion and selfless dedication to advancing military medicine and the overall health of the nation’s wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans.
“It’s always nice to know that people will take the time to recognize you,” Yun said. “It’s a great honor, and I’m very humbled.”
Yun was nominated for the award by former BAMC Commanding General U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Clinton Murray.
“Col. Yun has distinguished herself as a consummate leader within both the civilian and military medical specialty communities of Internal Medicine and Infectious Disease,” Murray said. “As a physician-scholar, she has advanced the medical field’s understanding of civilian and military-relevant topics, to include formative research on tropical diseases, SARS-CoV-2, and graduate medical education.”
As a program director for the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium Infectious Disease Fellowship, Yun directed the education of about 24 military Infectious Disease physicians and mentored other fellows/junior staff, many of whom have gone on to assume key leadership positions within their respective military service, Murray explained.
“As a more senior leader, she has continued to foster a clinical learning and working environment that supports the ongoing development of these future military medicine leaders,” he added. “Her engagement as a talented mentor has facilitated her impact within the Military Health System far beyond the walls of BAMC. Her capacity for clinical and scholastic excellence is matched only by her empathy and compassion as an affiliative leader.”
Other honorees included Marty Wender, San Antonio real estate developer and civic leader, who received the civilian patient award. Wender suffered burns over 20 percent of his body in an accident. He received care at BAMC, the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center and UT Health San Antonio.
Retired U.S. Marine Maj. Gen. Juan Ayala received the ambassador award. Ayala currently serves as director of the City of San Antonio’s Office of Military Affairs.
And, Dr. Ian M. Thompson Jr. received the civilian provider award, which recognizes an individual who has effectively leveraged their clinical and research experience in military medicine to provide care to the civilian community they serve. Thompson is president and chief development officer for The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Foundation and Christus Santa Rosa Friends Foundation.
“HJF is proud to present our 2022 Heroes of Military Medicine Awards to these San Antonio leaders who have made such important contributions to military medicine in the community,” said retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Joseph Caravalho Jr., HJF president and CEO. “This will be the first celebration of many to come in San Antonio to honor our military and community collaborators.”
Caravalho is also a former BAMC commanding general.