Walter Reed Among Top Military Medical Centers, Commander Says
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Apr. 11, 2007 “Walter Reed is one of the pivotal academic medical centers and casualty receiving hospitals for the joint medical force,” Army Maj. Gen. Eric B. Schoomaker told members of the Defense Health Board assembled at the medical center here for a meeting today.
Schoomaker recently became Walter Reed’s chief and commander of North Atlantic Regional Medical Command as part of reorganizations that followed publicized accounts of problems within the facility’s outpatient system. He is the brother of former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker.
The Defense Health Board was established Oct. 1, 2006. It advises the secretary of defense on programs, policies, research programs and requirements for the treatment and prevention of disease and injury, the promotion of health and delivery of health care services to eligible Defense Department beneficiaries.
Schoomaker welcomed the board members, noting he was pleased they’d chosen the Walter Reed campus to hold their meeting.
“We couldn’t be happier than to have you here today,” Schoomaker told the board members. “Frankly, we respect so much the contributions that our academic and federal and interagency partners make to improve the health system of the uniformed services and federal medicine in general.”
The two-star general said his hospital and related facilities also have the responsibility to provide health care to more than 500,000 beneficiaries within the National Capital Region.
And, Walter Reed is “privileged to be one of the principal casualty-receiving hospitals for casualties of the global war against terrorism,” Schoomaker said.
Dr. Gregory A. Poland, president of the board, then presented Schoomaker with a certificate of appreciation.
Poland cited Schoomaker’s “superb leadership, excellent organizational skills and outstanding professional knowledge and willingness to assist and cooperate with the board in its work.” Schoomaker reciprocated by presenting Poland with his personal commander’s coin.
Schoomaker pointed to the accomplishments of the hospital’s namesake, Maj. Walter Reed, the Army doctor who led a medical team that in 1900 confirmed that yellow fever was transmitted by infected mosquitoes, and not by direct contact.
Walter Reed was “a man who changed the lives of hundreds of millions of people worldwide,” Schoomaker said.
Reed’s yellow fever work is considered a milestone in biomedicine. Reed died in 1902 at age 51 of complications from a ruptured appendix. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.