When the hospital beds at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) in Washington, D.C., began to fill with scores of sick and wounded American soldiers from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, a Health Science Center alumna was there to ensure they received the best care. Col. Maria Mayorga, M.D., a 1978 graduate of the School of Medicine, became the first-ever brigade surgeon of WRAMC during a critical time in American history. WRAMC is the nationís leading hospital for specialty military health care of soldiers, military retirees and their families.
"I am very proud to serve the soldiers at WRAMC," Col. Mayorga said. "They provide medical care to our sick, injured and dying, often working beyond the call of duty. Many are being deployed to locations throughout the United States and abroad. Each of them serves with great sacrifice to their families and themselves. As brigade surgeon I can dedicate myself to ensuring our soldiers receive the best care and medical resources to perform their jobs to the fullest."
Col. Mayorga supports a staff of more than 2,500 officers, non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel who serve as physicians, nurses, technicians and support staff at WRAMC.
"The position of brigade surgeon at WRAMC was created during this critical time when our troops need the highest standard of readiness and a process that supports and sustains that readiness," said Col. Dorene Hurt, brigade commander at WRAMC. "Col. Mayorga was handpicked for this vital position because of her clinical and executive management expertise. She has the ability to effectively collaborate with and serve as a conduit between the clinical and administrative staffs," she said.
In addition to ensuring first-rate health care for soldiers, Col. Mayorga developed a successful electronic tracking system/quality assurance program that allowed hospital staff to monitor the sick leave and medical profiles of all military personnel. She also developed a companion desk guide to aid staff in the proper methods for filling out sick leave and medical profile forms and instituted a training session that specifically addressed the needs of health care providers at WRAMC. In addition to her duties as brigade surgeon, Col. Mayorga is a full-time staff pulmonologist in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Services at WRAMC.
Col. Mayorga said her educational experience at the Health Science Center prepared her to be a well-rounded physician. "The Health Science Center offers an academically challenging environment with many support systems, including extracurricular activities such as sports. All of these allow students to experience teamwork and camaraderie and to develop the basic qualities for success," she said.
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