KUSAHC welcomes new commander

(From right, front) Incoming Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic Commander Lt. Col. Jody Brown; Col. Daniel Bonnichsen, commander of the Fort George G. Meade U.S. Army Medical Department Activity; and Lt. Col. Wesley Anderson, outgoing KUSAHC commander, stand at attention with Sgt. 1st Class Nakia Finney, KUSAHC senior enlisted advisor, rear, after the passing of the colors during a change of command ceremony at the post chapel Aug. 2. | U.S. Army photo by Rachel Ponder, APG News

Before an audience of family members, friends, staff members and APG leaders, Lt. Col. Jody Brown officially assumed leadership of the Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic during a change of command ceremony at the main post chapel Aug. 2.

Brown succeeds Lt. Col. Wesley Anderson, who served as the KUSAHC commander for two years. The reviewing officer was Col. Daniel Bonnichsen, commander of the Fort George G. Meade U.S. Army Medical Department Activity, or MEDDAC.

Sgt. 1st Class Nakia Finney, the KUSAHC senior enlisted advisor, led the passing of the unit colors from Anderson to Bonnichsen to Brown, then back to Finney, symbolizing the official transfer of leadership.

Bonnichsen called Anderson “strong and decisive” for leading a staff of more than 200 military, civilian and contract personnel.

“Lt. Col. Anderson is known as a tough leader, but he has flawlessly led Kirk and the Edgewood health clinics since the summer of 2015 imbuing his own leadership style of the organization and put patients first,” he said.

He added that Anderson established a culture of safety that is the best in the U.S. Army MEDDAC.

“He improved patient safety reporting from our staff by 138 percent and his organization received the coveted 2017 Army Unit Safety streamer,” he said.

Other accomplishments include improving appointment availability and exceeding the U.S. Army Medical Command’s standards offering acute appointments in under seven days.

“The Kirk team’s actions to improve care were absolutely masterful and today remain one of the MEDDAC’s best sties for patient access,” he said.

Bonnichsen welcomed Brown and her family to the APG community, noting that Brown previously served as the deputy commander for Clinical Services with the Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center, part of the Fort George G. Meade MEDDAC.

“You have impressive credentials, tremendous passion and the right mix of assignments and experiences that have prepared you for these next two years,” he said. “You have earned my trust and confidence, something I don’t give freely. You definitely have what it takes to excel.”

Thanking Bonnichsen and APG leadership for their support, Anderson said he was honored to lead a “wonderful group of professionals.”

“I wish you all the best and good luck in your future endeavors,” he said. You are in good hands and I know you will all continue to serve America’s sons and daughters with distinction.”

Anderson also welcomed Brown and her family.

“Your selection was based on your outstanding work and contributions to the Department of Defense and recognizes the trust and potential for the greater responsibility placed in you,” he said.

Brown said she was “honored and privileged” to lead KUSAHC. She thanked Anderson and the KUSAHC team for their warm welcome.

“Previously assigned to the MEDDAC at Kimbrough, I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peak of this stellar organization over the last year,” she said. “Based on what I’ve seen, I feel as though I hit the jackpot.”

The ceremony included an invocation by Lt. Col. Slavomir Bilinski of KUSAHC. Spc. Branden Starks, the previous KUSAHC Soldier of the Month, presented Anderson’s wife, Col. Elizabeth Anderson with red roses symbolizing her love and support during his tenure. Pfc. Ruben Bragg III, the current KUSAHC Soldier of the Month welcomed Brown’s husband, Maj. Stephen Brown with a gift of golf balls.

Lt. Col. Jody Brown

Brown began her military career in 1999 when she was commissioned as a second lieutenant at the University of New Hampshire, as a transportation officer in the Transportation Corps. In 2005, Brown took her oath of office into the U.S. Army Medical Department, or AMEDD, and transferred into the Nurse Corps.

Her past assignments include Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Washington D.C. While serving in the Nurse Corps, she completed a master’s degree as a family nurse practitioner.

Her military education includes the Transportation Officer’s Basic Course; Equal Opportunity Advisor Course; the S-1 Course; Combined Logistics Captain’s Career Course; Combined Arms and Services School; the AMEDD Head Nurse Course and the Command and General Staff College.

Her awards and decorations include the Bronze Star; Meritorious Service, Army Commendation, Army Achievement, National Defense, Iraqi Campaign, and Korea Defense Service medals; and the Overseas and Army service ribbons. Brown is a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit.

By Rachel Ponder, APG News