Female commander shares, ‘there is no limit to what you can do’

By Rachel PonderMarch 29, 2024

Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic Commander Lt. Col. Lauris Trimble stands beside the KUSAHC logo.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic Commander Lt. Col. Lauris Trimble stands beside the KUSAHC logo.

(Photo Credit: Photo by Rachel Ponder )
KUSAHC commander speaks at change of command ceremony.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic Commander Lt. Col. Lauris Trimble speaks during her change of command ceremony at the Myer Auditorium July 13, 2023. During the ceremony, Trimble became the sixth female commander of KUSAHC.

(Photo Credit: Courtesy photo)

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate women’s outstanding accomplishments and contributions throughout our nation’s history.

This year’s WHM theme is “Women Who Have Made Great Achievements.” To honor WHM, a female senior leader, Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic Commander Lt. Col. Lauris Trimble, shared her story.

On July 13, 2023, Trimble became the sixth female commander of KUSAHC since the facility opened in 1964. The first female commander was Col. Cecily David, who served from 1993-1997.

Trimble said she considers it a privilege to serve the APG community. Patients include Soldiers, retirees, and their family members. KUSAHC’s motto is, “Your Health is Our Goal.”

“Health care is a passion for everyone who works here, but because we get to serve the community that we do, I think it is especially meaningful,” she said.

Originally from Hampton, Virginia, Trimble never thought about joining the military until her senior year of high school, when she received a scholarship through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Virginia.  There she received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, and then started her miliary career in 1998 at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

After serving as a Signal Corps officer for 11 years, Trimble became a certified physician assistant in 2011. She desired a career change and discovered that some skills she learned as a civil engineer were transferable.

“My background in civil engineering does play a part in problem-solving and figuring out systems,” she explained. “That is what medicine is about, but you are dealing with that on a human level.”

Trimble said she thought it was a risk to change careers at that time but is ultimately glad she did because medicine is her passion.

"It is a huge gift," Trimble said about earning a master's degree in physician assistant studies while serving in the military. “The opportunities in the Army and in the military in general are just enormous, and I feel very thankful to utilize those programs that are available."

As the KUSAHC commander and the director of Health Services, Trimble is responsible for running the clinic, which provides primary care and selected specialty care for TRICARE Prime enrolled patients. Trimble oversees 160 employees.

“The Kirk staff members are experts in their field,” she said. “I rely on the institutional knowledge of the employees here, so that I can do my job.”

Leadership style   

Trimble’s leadership philosophy is to lead by example, and trust and empower people so they can do their jobs. She also believes in treating people with kindness and having a positive attitude.

“Teamwork is my favorite thing about the military and medicine,” she said. “Teamwork is everything to me, and when I see it in action, it brings me joy to see all that we can accomplish as a team.”

Trimble said many people have inspired her throughout her career. One of the biggest lessons, she said, was leading with authenticity. Being her authentic self gave her the self-assurance to apply for different positions.

“It’s only been in the past couple of years that I came to this realization that I don’t have to be exactly like someone else,” she said.

‘Balance is important’

Trimble recommends setting professional goals and personal goals. She added that a well-rounded person is suitable for any organization.

“It makes you a better leader to have a well-balanced life,” she said. “Find what brings you joy outside of work and do that because it will make you better at work.”

Trimble said she has many hobbies, including running and swimming.

“One of the reasons I am in the Army is that physical fitness is an expectation, and I love that,” she said.

Trimble enjoys spending time with her pets; she has two dogs and recently adopted a cat. Reading also helps her unwind from a hectic lifestyle.

Mentoring others

Trimble can name many leaders who inspired her to keep growing in her career and go further. This, she said, helped build her self-confidence.

“I had a lot of great leaders who told me I could do things that I didn’t think I could do myself,” she said.

To young Soldiers, her advice is, “there are no limits to what you can do.” She encourages them to do “what they love to do.” Trimble said she is motivated by the many strong female leaders in the Army.

“I love the mentorship part of being a more senior leader because I know that anything is possible because I have been through it,” she said. “Even 20 years ago, I had no idea I would be here.”