BREMERTON — More than 60 active-duty dental officers gathered Feb. 2 at Naval Hospital Bremerton to attend to the first dental leadership symposium sponsored by the Puget Sound Military Health System.
Attendees represented Madigan Army Medical Center, 62nd Medical Squadron and Naval hospitals Bremerton and Oak Harbor.
“The goals for the symposium are to help attendees develop as military officers and for their role as dental providers within the Military Health System,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kirt C. Nilsson, event planner and PSMHS clinic operations.
The group heard from Capt. David H. Hartzell, chairman for the Navy Comprehensive Dentistry Program and former Navy Dental Corps career planner. He encouraged officers to stay active in their training, and credits the integration of Navy dental and medical commands for allowing dentists to branch out into other areas of health care.
“The opportunity to branch out and be in the broader picture with Military Medicine bodes well for you,” Hartzell said.
Attendees heard insights from Col. Shan Bagby, commander of Joint Base Lewis-McChord Dental Activity. He advised attendees to not base career decisions on positions and titles, but rather to focus on what is right for them and to identify what they are not willing to compromise.
“The best leaders are the ones who learn to embrace ambiguity,” Bagby said.
Bagby also emphasized the importance of “finding mentors who are not like you, as they will offer you a different perspective.”
Other topics covered officer record management, Dental Corps roadmap, and an opportunity to seek individual mentoring sessions with senior leaders.
The symposium was the result of the Dental Consortium within Puget Sound Military Health System. The consortium works toward minimizing what is spent on care outside of medical treatment facilities and maximizing the care provided within the Military Health System.
One example is the departure of the periodontist at Naval Hospital Oak Harbor. Through the early work by consortium members, the Army identified a way to fill this gap in service and is now sending an Army periodontist to Oak Harbor.
“As we all work together, we are able to maximize the capabilities of each clinic and minimize the amount we spend outside our system,” Nilsson said.
Established in 2013, the PSMHS is an integrated medical market consisting of Army, Navy and Air Force medical treatment facilities providing care to more than 288,500 TRICARE beneficiaries. Working together across service lines ensures service members, retirees and families receive timely access to high-quality health care.
To facilitate this process, the Puget Sound Military Health System developed seven medical consortiums led and attended by representatives from Madigan and Naval hospitals Bremerton and Oak Harbor to further improve productivity and reduce purchased care in civilian health care facilities.
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