Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) President Dr. James A. Zimble has notified the Department of Defense (DoD) of his intention to retire from federal service in August. In accepting the letter of intent, Dr. William Winkenwerder, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said, Upon his retirement, this country will lose a tremendously dedicated and talented leader who has so generously devoted himself to this exceptional institution, whose more than 3,500 medical school graduates comprise some 22 percent of the military health systems physicians. Because of its military-focused medical curriculum, USU holds a unique standing among the nations best medical educational institutions.
Zimble, a retired vice admiral, has been the universitys president since retiring 13 years ago from active duty as the 30th surgeon general of the Navy. During his tenure, the university has become one of the most accredited federal educational institutions, and was most recently reaccredited with commendation by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Among the universitys numerous other achievements under Zimbles leadership are the establishment and expansion of the Graduate School of Nursing, which addressed the shortage of advanced practice nurses within DoD; receipt of the DoD Joint Meritorious Unit Award in 2000; the development of a fifth university building; and the establishment of the National Capital Simulation Center, a unique military medical simulation facility. Additionally, the university has attracted more than $115-million in medical research funding that focuses on tropical and military medicine, infectious diseases, trauma, public health, and military medical preparedness and disaster response, all of which are key areas of concern to the DoD mission. The university also is a significant and vital component of the military health systems graduate medical education program. In recognition of these and other accomplishments, Zimble was awarded the Frank Berry Prize for contributions to federal and military medicine by U. S. Medicine in 2002; and the U.S. Army Surgeon Generals Medallion in 2000.
Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness David Chu notes Dr. Zimbles leadership has brought worldwide peer recognition to this unique center of military medical education and research excellence. His efforts have brought great credit to military medicine, but more importantly, highly-regarded medical care to the many thousands of our active duty and retiree members and their families around the world who directly benefit from universitys graduates. He is one of the finest examples of public servants who so unselfishly give of their time, energy and talent to our country.
I will leave with mixed feelings and a heavy heart, said Zimble. Weve done so much and were just getting better and better. I take particular pride in the large numbers of our graduates choosing assignments with deploying regular and special operations forces of all services. However, after some 48 years of military and government service, its now time to spend more time with my family.
The department will establish an executive search committee composed of nationally recognized healthcare providers and educators to review applications and to make recommendations to the secretary on the best qualified candidates.
Established by U.S. Congress in 1972, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences is located on the campus of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. As the nations only federal school of medicine and graduate school of nursing, whose motto is Learning to Care for Those in Harms Way, the university will graduate its 25th class of medical students, and graduate nursing students, public health and doctorial students in May.