Category Archives: Reserves

Reserve Profile: LT Jody McIntosh, Critical Care Nurse

In May of 2013 Jodie McIntosh was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Navy Reserve Nurse Corps.  She recently agreed to provide some feedback on her first four months as a drilling reservist.

When asked about her initial draw to the Navy Reserves, the Sykesville, MD resident indicated that she was seeking greater challenges both personally and professionally.  “Last time I felt this way, I went to grad school (Masters in Nursing Education from Towson).  This time I thought the military might be the best place to seek those opportunities.” she said.

Ensign Jody McIntosh, Nurse Corps, US Navy Reserves

Jody McIntosh, LT,  NC, USNR is pictured above. In her civilian career, LT McIntosh is an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Carroll Community College. She also works part time at St. Joseph’s Medical Center on the Cardiac Surgery Unit.

As a reservist, LT McIntosh works one weekend a month at the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) in Baltimore and is required to participate in at least two weeks of training each year. 

During her first few drill weekends she has assisted in performing annual health assessments on fellow reservists, as well as completing some General Military Training requirements.  She also recently took part in a community service project at the Armed Forces Retirement Home, in Washington, DC.

While these expereiences have been good, LT McIntosh went on to say that she is really looking forward to other opportunities, as well.  She is scheduled for two weeks of Direct Commission Officers Indoctrination Course (DCOIC) in January which will be held in Newport, RI, and she plans to attend the Navy Expeditionary Medical Training Institute (NEMTI) in Camp Pendleton, CA in June of next year.  DCOIC will provide the basic training on how to successully work as an Officer in the Navy Reserves.  The NEMTI course is focused on providing medical care in austere environments.

Beyond that she is further excited about the pending transition of the local unit from an Operational Health Support Unit to an Expeditionary Medical Facility.  This will mean a shift in focus for the entire crew assigned to the NOSC in Baltimore.  Instead of supporting shore based installations such as Walter Reed in Bethesda and the local reserve center, the unit will focus their training on skills needed to deploy as unit to provide medical treatment around the world should the need arise.

Throughout this process, LT McIntosh has had complete support from both her family and her employers.  “From the moment I filled out the paperwork about the Navy Reserves, my husband was constantly asking if I had heard anything back yet” she said, “He’s been nothing but supportive the entire way.”

Working as both an Assistant Professor of Nursing and Carroll County Community College, and part time in the Cardiac Surgery Unit at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Towson, MD, meant that she needed to have the endorsement of two bosses during her application process. 

According to LT McIntosh, both her Program Director and her Nurse Manger have been “extremely supportive” throughout the process and remain so today.  When asked if she had any advice for other nurses interested in opportunities in the Navy Reserve, she simply stated….”Do it!”.

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Baltimore Reserve Physician Completes Training Exercise; Prepares For First Deployment

It’s been a little over a year since Baltimore Psychiatrist, Dr. Bernard Fischer, was officially sworn in as a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserve, Medical Corps.  In that time he’s gotten his uniform and ID card, attended drill weekends, and even completed his two week Officer Development Course in Newport, RI.  Recently he was able to add another important milestone to his list of accomplishments; his first field exercise.

Although LCDR Fischer drills out of the Navy Reserve Center in Baltimore, his official unit is Expeditionary Medical Facility One (EMF 1) which is headquartered on Great Lakes, IL.  The purpose of the EMF system is to be able to set up field hospitals in remote areas in the event of conflict or humanitarian crisis operations.

EMF 1 was one of many medical and Construction Battalion (Sea Bees)  units that arrived to Cheatham Annex, in Williamsburg, VA last month to test a new Chemically Hardened Expeditionary Medical Facility. The facility is designed to allow forces to provide medical care in an environment containing chemical or biological agents.

LCDR Bernard Fischer (center) stands with other members of the EMF 1 Mental Health Team during their 72 Hour "Lock In" as part of a recent training exercise."

LCDR Bernard Fischer (center) stands with other members of the EMF 1 Mental Health Team during their 72 Hour “Lock In” as part of a recent training exercise.”

As LCDR Fischer described it, ” We put up a “small” EMF (we had about 170 staff inside) and then tested the collective protection liner. The test was a 72 hr lock-down where we treated simulated casualties coming in through an airlock while SeaBees and contractors tested our air exchange and pressure.”

The unit was split up into two teams, one that was assigned for the construction an another assigned for the recovery of the facility. “Things went really well. Both the set-up and take down took significantly less time than was expected and the tests were all passed.”, he added.

While field exercises are always great experiences, LCDR Fischer is also looking forward to his next adventure, a voluntary deployment to the NATO Hospital in Khandahar, Afghanistan.  He expects to leave in early 2014, but has already begun to prepare as much as possible.

“I spoke to the reserve specialty leader for psychiatry- he just got back from Role 3 last year- and he answered a lot of my questions.  I’ll be doing brief therapy, med management, and triaging for evacuation to Germany. According to what I’ve heard, about 2/3 of the cases will come from the field  and about 1/3 will be care for the care-giver (making sure all the trauma and surgical teams are okay considering what they see and have to deal with.)  It will be hard to be away from the family, but I think it will be really rewarding for us all.” he said.

NOTES:

Read more about the EMF Exercise here.

Access an absolutely terrific series about Navy Medicine at NATO Role 3 Hospital in Khandahar, Afghanistan that was done by the Virginia Pilot by clicking on this link.  Be advised the videos and photos are graphic.

Another recent article about the Hospital in Khandahar can be accessed here.

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The Recruitment of Dr. Chi

When trauma Surgeon Dr. Albert Chi was commissioned as a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserves at a ceremony inside the Johns Hopkins Medical Center on April 19, 2013, it was the culmination of a long journey, one that began well before he met me.

Dr. Chi had always had a desire to serve his country, but it wasn’t until 2008, while he working in a critical care/trauma surgery fellowship at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, MD, that he really began to think about the Navy.  During this time period, Dr. Chi worked alongside, and became friends with, a Navy Reserve Physician by the name of Captain Rom Stevens.  That relationship soon led to Captain Stevens eventually introducing him to another to a local reserve officer in the Navy Dental Corps, Admiral Lew Libby.

Admiral Lew Libby administers the Commissioning Oath to LCDR Albert Chi at Johns Hopkins.

Admiral Lew Libby administers the Commissioning Oath to LCDR Albert Chi at Johns Hopkins. (Phot0 by MC1 Carlson, Public Affairs Officer, NRD Philladelphia)

Over the next few years, these two men helped DR. Chi to slowly learn about life in the Navy Reserves and how it could be balanced with a civilian career.  “Their influence and the way they lead by example was the final factor in my decision to join”, said LCDR Chi.  He knew he wanted to do it, he just needed to wait until the right time in his professional life to do so.

After completing his fellowship, Dr. Chi went across town to work as an Assistant Professor of Surgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute.  While there he got involved with groundbreaking work with prosthetic limbs that are controlled by the patient’s brains.  The revolutionary devices can move, grip, and even feel sensations. (The work was featured on an episode of the CBS News Program 60 Minutes last December). This work put him in close contact with other military physicians and helped sustain the desire that had been planted years earlier.

By the Spring of 2012, I had been working in Baltimore as a medical officer recruiter long enough to have established some pretty good contacts, so when the call came to find a VIP rider for the Blue Angels later that summer, I was out and about looking for a lucky passenger.  The phrase “I’m looking for someone who wants to ride in a F-18 Fighter jet” quickly opened a lot of doors and it eventually led me to a meeting with the VP of Nursing Operations at the Cowley Shock Trauma Center.  Karen Doyle would eventually become the VIP rider and through our relationship I learned about and was eventually invited to attend a professional development conference later that fall.

Karen Doyle, VP of Nursing Operations at Maryland Shock Trauma Center is strapped into a Blue Angel F-18.  Her VIP ride indirectly led to the meeting of LCDR Albert Chi.

Karen Doyle, VP of Nursing Operations at Maryland Shock Trauma Center is strapped into a Blue Angel F-18. Her VIP ride indirectly led to the meeting of LCDR Albert Chi. (Photo by MC1 Carlson, Public Affairs Officer, NRD Philadelphia)

So there I was, in the lobby of the “Special Topics in Trauma Conference” standing by my small stand with the fancy Navy tablecloth, when in walks Dr. Albert Chi, who was just in the area to visit some past colleagues. The initial conversation lasted about five minutes. He simply asked if I was a medical officer recruiter for reserves, to which I replied that I was indeed.  He then told me that he was a trauma surgeon and he was ready to join. “I think this is the right time”, he said. We traded contact numbers and he was off.

He still had to go back and brief his idea to his employer as well as his wife, but it wasn’t long before we started putting together his application.  “The support I’ve received from my department chair and my department head at Hopkins has been overwhelming.” Adding that they understand that it is a sacrifice, but it’s a sacrifice they all “believe in, and are willing to support”.

LCDR Chi knows that being a trauma surgeon in the Navy Reserves is more than just wearing the uniform and that it is a commitment to an already busy life. His motivation to serve is what is driving him and he is hoping to deploy as soon as he gets the chance. “Drill weekends and potential deployments represent time away from my wife and partners at work but it’s a sacrifice they are all willing to make”, he said.

When asked about what he hopes to gain as a Physician in the Navy Reserves, LCDR Chi stated simply, “I hope to serve my country in a capacity to help those service men and women wounded during timed of conflict.”

The recruitment of LCDR Chi began nearly five years before he was commissioned. It directly involved a Navy Reserve doctor and a Navy Reserve dentist and it indirectly involved a Nurse taking her first ride in an F-18 fighter jet during Baltimore Navy Week.

So in the end, my job, as the Navy Recruiter, was a lot like the full back who carries the ball across the goal line for the final yard of long touchdown drive.  The stat book may credit me with the gain, but it was truly a team effort, an effort that resulted in big win for Navy Medicine.

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Westminster Dentist and Navy Reservist Spends 20 Days in Senegal

Local Dentist and Navy Reservist, Captain Paul Bowersox of Westminster, MD is certainly a man who has “been there, and done that” over the course of his 27 years affiliated with the Navy.  Recently he spent a portion of last summer participating in Operation Western Accord 2012 in the country of Senegal.  This was the first evolution of the exercise and included over 1,200 service members from six countries.

As a member of the 4th Marine Logistics Group he served as the Officer in Charge (OIC) for the dental unit that performed field dentistry procedures such as exams, fillings, cleanings, and even a few extractions over their twenty day deployment.   In addition to providing actual dental support to US service members, the deployment also provided an opportunity to hone other important skills.  “Training the members of the team to set up, maintain, and breakdown a field clinic in a very austere environment was challenging.” said Captain Bowersox.

Although they were located in a rather remote area (about 2.5 hours by bus northwest of the city of Dakar), there were some opportunities to see the sights. While Dr. Bowersox took advantage of a one day safari trip to a 1,000 acre game preserve, others on his team opted to spend a day in the city of Dakar itself.  Overall though, it was the dealings with the diverse population that he really enjoyed.  “Interacting with the Marines is always a fun experience.  Their esprit de corps for what they do has made the past 22 years in the reserves a wonderful experience, and meeting members of the Senegalese and other militaries is also rewarding.” he said.

Dr. Paul Bowersox, DDS, of Westmister, MD.

Dr. Paul Bowersox, DDS, of Westmister, MD.

While some may wonder how he manages to balance his civilian practice with his Navy Reserve commitments, Dr. Bowersox indicated that it really has not been that difficult.  “I have several dentists that cover for me when I am away, just like most dentists do when they go on vacation or do continuing education courses” he explained.  “My patients are very receptive to, and appreciative of, my military commitment. They are generally very eager to hear what part of the world I am off to.”

Professionally, service in the reserves offers unique working environments.  For example, the Navy offers the opportunity to work with everything from the most state of the art equipment in military clinics, to the most basic of supplies during evolutions such as Western Accord.  Dr. Bowersox believes this as a positive experience.

In a field dental suite, Navy Capt. Paul Bowersox, a dentist, and HM3 Andrine Randle, a dental technician, from 4th Dental Battalion, treat a U.S. Marine patient during Exercise Western Accord 2012. (Photo by Sgt. Tatum Vayavananda)

In a field dental suite, Navy Capt. Paul Bowersox, a dentist, and HM3 Andrine Randle, a dental technician, from 4th Dental Battalion, treat a U.S. Marine patient during Exercise Western Accord 2012. (Photo by Sgt. Tatum Vayavananda)

“Sometimes it takes a little time to get comfortable with your supplies, but the benefit is that you get to try, in a real clinical environment, materials and equipment you don’t often use. I have changed materials that I use in my office based on what I used in the Navy” he explained.

In the past 27 years, Dr. Bowersox has served on many platforms, from clinics, to ships, to serving on the ground with the Marines.  He has visited over a dozen foreign locations and eight military installations here in the United States.  “The opportunity to serve, very good continuing education opportunities, and fantastic friendships and memories” are some of the reasons Dr. Bowersox continues his service, adding, “The retirement benefits are very good too.”

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