"Optimizing Combat Casualty Care"
Left to right: Mary Ann Spott, Kathy Ryan, Carmen Hinojosa-Laborde, and Heather Pidcoke.

Left to right: Mary Ann Spott, Kathy Ryan, Carmen Hinojosa-Laborde, and Heather Pidcoke. Photo by Ricardo Anzaldua

WOMEN IN SCIENCE: Establishing, maintaining strong community relations

By Steven Galvan, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research
03 MAY 2012

As the Army’s lead research laboratory in optimizing combat casualty care, staff members of the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (ISR) are routinely asked to be guest speakers at conferences, organizational meetings, university classrooms, etc. For the ISR, it is a great opportunity to showcase the latest research and innovative work for our combat wounded while establishing and maintaining strong community relations.

On April 11, four ISR personnel were asked to speak at the San Antonio chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association (HBA) spring event. Carmen Hinojosa-Laborde, Ph.D., was the driving force in setting up the speaking engagement and said that the HBA is a global organization whose mission is to further the advancement and impact of women in healthcare worldwide. She also added that it includes women in all aspects of healthcare—women in education, research, patient care, and business in San Antonio.

When asked by Julie Hensler, Ph.D., the director of the of Women in Science for the local HBA chapter, whether the ISR was interested in participating in a program which would feature women scientists and their work, Hinojosa-Laborde’s immediate response was to say yes, since the objective of HBA’s Women in Science affinity group is to support and promote the professional development of women in scientific roles in healthcare.

“I think it is important for the civilian community to understand the diversity of research that is conducted at the ISR,” said Hinojosa-Laborde. “Many of the attendees at the Women in Science symposium commented that while they have lived in San Antonio for many years, they were unaware of the research on combat trauma being conducted at the ISR.”

Three research physiologists, Kathy Ryan, Ph.D.; Pamela Brown Baer, D.D.S.; Heather Pidcoke, M.D.; and the Deputy Director/Program Manager of the Joint Trauma System, Mary Ann Spott, MPA, MSIS, MBA, spoke about their specialized areas of research. The spring event, “Innovations in Military Medicine Impacting Civilian Healthcare,” focused on military medical innovations and research by women scientists and clinicians at the ISR.

For some ISR staff members, participating in these types of events comes naturally. “I enjoy doing these types of things,” said Ryan, who regularly participates at an elementary school during career day and shares her involvement in research. “I love my job and I like sharing what I do in my career when I get a chance.”

“We are passionate about our work at the ISR; our mission is unique and pure,” said Brown-Baer. “Everything we do focuses on bettering the outcomes for our wounded warriors. It is critical that we share our mission with the public and the progress we are making towards our goals. These interactions foster good will towards the institute and future collaborations with bright, successful individuals within our community.”

According to Spott, it is important to build the partnership between the military and the community in order to leverage knowledge and expertise. “ISR is unique in its collective group of experts from various disciplines. Their talent is unparalleled in the civilian community,” she said. “Additionally, the civilian community has the ability to be more facile in some of their work and this complements the military for various activities. This symbiotic relationship is a force multiplier when resolving issues or developing new ideas. Each community has valuable input and scholarly knowledge that will enhance overall scientific and clinical efforts.”