By Kenneth Blair Hogue, USAMITC Public AffairsFebruary 17, 2012
FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS -- With the Military still continuing to move in a more joint service operational direction, the U.S. Army Medical Information Technology Center (USAMITC) continues to come on strong in its contribution in this effort with a path already established with its Fellowship Program.
"The Fellowship Program gives us an opportunity as medical administrators to work jointly with the Army to improve our understanding of joint operations, as well as to increase our ability to successfully lead the Air Force in medical information technology operations," said Air Force Capt. Todd Roman, USAMITC's current Air Force Fellow and the third officer to participate in this prestigious command program.
With the Fellowship Program, USAMITC hosts an officer from another branch of the Military on a one-year rotation to provide an indepth learning experience for the officer and to share knowledge gained in operations of the information technology enterprise.
"We're here to improve our own personal leadership and technical skill sets so that when we return to the Air Force, we can take those lessons back and be a medical treatment facility chief information officer or a higher headquarter staff officer with a broader knowledge base to draw upon," Roman said.
Roman, who has a degree in Accounting, was a certified public accountant for several years before joining the Air Force. While stationed at Wilford Hall Medical Center, his first assignment, he had two large projects he worked on for the Chief Information Officer.
"One of those was working with the Chief Information Officer for Brooke Army Medical Center, to draft the BRAC (Base Realignment and Consolidation) Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) that would lay out the vision of how the Medical Information Services Divisions would operate jointly post-BRAC," said Roman. In addition, he was required to review each departmental MOU for technical feasibility, "I met with counterparts from the other services and ensured these memorandums would meet the intent of BRAC as well as be possible within the confines of Military jointness."
Roman deployed to Iraq, and then had a tour at the Kelly Clinic on Lackland Air Force Base as a Group Practice Manager. He later transferred to Royal Air Force Base Lakenheath in England, and was there for a tour before returning to San Antonio after being selected for the Air Force Fellowship at USAMITC.
Roman said the fellowship selection process was very competitive. "There are only 35 available opportunities for approximately 900 personnel within my career field," said Roman. "When I saw the possibility to work within my passion for the Medical Information Services specialty, I set out to come back to San Antonio to further my joint lessons and help my career progression simultaneously." Coming back to San Antonio also worked out well for his wife who is also an Air Force member. With her being active duty, it gave her a chance to be stationed here as well.
After an officer is selected for the program, USAMITC screens a potential officer to determine their objectives, experience level, individual skills and qualifications. Later, USAMITC then places the officer with an operating division or office to assume a responsible and most challenging and rewarding position. The officer is then rotated into jobs that best utilize their skills and experience and provide them with a view of enterprise systems management at the operational level.
USAMITC provides one rotation, or two positions, within their year-long placement in the program. The officers are also provided access to documentation, standard operating procedure, technical information and other project information as required, giving them a chance to learn another Military branch's way of handling business practices.
Since coming to USAMITC, Roman identified and made it clear he wanted to work on and improve business operations. "They placed me in Sustainment Division to work on joint projects. This gave me a chance to work on my joint project management skills," he said. "I've been working on joint projects with Project Manager Joe Tolentino and his team." With Roman being an Air Force Officer, he says he brings a little something different to the table. "The Air Force and the Army have sometimes very different ways of operating. By bringing an Air Force perspective, I help the team understand other ways of accomplishing the same objectives," he said.
"His insight on Air Force medical operations and clinical support, both in-garrison and deployed, is guiding our efforts towards success, and ensures we provide the best service possible to the war fighter and the Military family," said Joe Tolentino of USAMITC's Sustainment Division and the Military Health System Joint Active Directory (MHS-JAD) Project Manager who's been working closely with Roman. "Todd (Roman) brings a strong customer focus and a different joint perspective beneficial to USAMITC," he continued. "As part of the email migration planning effort for the Joint Task Force National Capital Region Medical (JTF-CAPMED), Todd's recommendations for early proactive communication and scheduling will help clinics prepare to support their patients during this transition."
The joint projects Roman has been working on are centered around moving various information systems into the MHS-JAD to include the efforts in support of JTF-CAPMED. These efforts directly support several hundred thousand patient visits and several thousand admissions each year.
"Captain Roman is providing invaluable insight, service and direct support to the MHS Joint Active Directory Sustainment Management team," said Tolentino. "As part of the fellowship program, Todd is not only learning about USAMITC's project and sustainment management processes, he is also contributing to improving those processes as they relate to working closely with Military Health System, Navy, and Army organizations on joint medical initiatives and sustainment operations."
"Although he may be here "on loan" as part of the Air Force Fellowship Program, Captain Roman is a fully vested member of the MHS JAD Sustainment Management team," said Tolentino. "We'll be sorry to see him go."
Roman hopes to capitalize on his experience here. "The bottom line is to utilize what I learn here, and take it back to the Air Force to help improve upon Air Force systems and develop future Air Force leaders," he concluded.