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    From Shoulder Pads to Shoulder Boards – Navy MSC Officer helps lead the way

    From Shoulder Boards to Shoulder Pads – Navy MSC Officer helps lead the way

    Photo By Douglas Stutz | Standing tall in the cloth of the nation…Navy Lt. Mark Fisher, Medical Service Corps...... read more read more

    For Navy Lt. Mark Fisher, wearing a uniform as an immovable force against a determined foe was just part of growing up.

    He’s donning a decidedly different kind of uniform now - as part of Navy Medicine- helping to block the spread of COVID-19 as well as support operational readiness.

    The former Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Blue Raider has replaced his shoulder pads after a stellar collegiate football career with shoulder boards as a Navy Medical Service Corps (MSC) officer.

    “I played at MTSU for four years and was voted team captain by my peers. The position I played was right tackle. I was blessed to be given the opportunity to be part of the New Orleans Saints organization for a short tenure at center,” said Fisher. “Some great memories I have were traveling to different stadiums, the intense preparation with my teammates, and the singular team focus on game day. I will always miss the camaraderie, the feeling of family and even the grueling days spent at training camps.”

    The Nashville, Tenn. native graduated from Goodpasture High School in 2007 and MTSU in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in Pre-Medicine. He was also a four-year letterman on the gridiron. He was an All-Sun Belt Conference on the field and recognized for several academic awards in the classroom. As a right tackle standing 6’3” at a playing weight of 277 pounds, Fisher was described as the ‘best all-around lineman on the team, an intelligent player, great leadership and an all-league-type performer.’

    Fisher’s Navy career began when he was approached by a recruiter in Nashville.

    “She had just helped my brother get back into the military. At the time, the numbers of new Healthcare Administrators (HCA) were at one or two per year, making it very competitive. I was just about to start my Master in Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Administration and planned to join after I completed. The rest was history,” related Fisher.

    After being accepted in the United States Navy, he received orders to NHB to be the Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO).

    “I was mentored by one of the most respectable CIOs in the Navy Information Technology community, Mr. Patrick Flaherty. I was in that role for a year then deployed to Afghanistan for approximately 10 months to serve as the CIO,” Fisher said, recently returned from his time at the NATO Role III Multinational hospital at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan.

    As CIO of the hospital in the war-torn southern region of a land long wracked by continuous conflict, Fisher took challenges – large and small, personal and professional – as one might expect of a offense lineman; head on.

    “My contribution was to ensure that our war fighters had 24/7 communication lines and real time data during medical needs. Expanding the IT infrastructure to reach our war fighters throughout all parts of Afghanistan was a challenge and it was gratifying being able to support them on the front lines,” said Fisher.

    His current role is as legal officer at NHB/Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Bremerton and Operational Support Officer (OSO) liaison for Navy Reservists.

    Fisher’s interest in a career with Navy Medicine is rooted in family.

    “My grandfather was a WWII submarine veteran. He was the only survivor of his sunken submarine, USS Growler (SS 215). My brother is a Mustang [a commissioned officer who began as enlisted]. You could say that the Navy was always in my blood. I knew that, given the opportunity, the Navy could be where I could become a valuable asset in a tight-knit family with tradition and prestige,” commented Fisher.

    Fisher was born and raised in Nashville and started playing football at age 8, playing competitively until age 24. He earned a full scholarship at MTSU, and considers himself fortunate enough to have his education paid for because of his physical abilities.

    “I was accepted into medical school at the same time that the NFL was knocking on my door. I thought long and hard about which path I would take. I chose the NFL and declined my acceptance into medical school. I played for two years, going on and off the 53-man roster, and the practice squad for the New Orleans Saints. The lessons I learned from football are priceless, and have helped me in my post-football career. I learned how to tackle people and snap a leather ball, but more importantly, how to lead others, and the value of practice,” shared Fisher.

    After his time with the Saints, he returned home and attended Vanderbilt University focusing on the Nuclear Medicine Technologist (NMT) program. Along with classes by day, he worked nights as a Special Forensic Chemist.

    “After I completed the NMT program and become board certified, I was hired on at Vanderbilt where I worked for almost four years doing Nuclear Medicine, even helping with the behind the scenes informatics for their new electronic health record,” Fisher said.

    During that time, he worked during the day full time and went to school full time at night to complete his MBA, graduating with honors, at the top of his class. Shortly after, he brought his unique background to Navy Medicine.

    “When I first joined the Navy, I quickly recognized some of the similarities to my years of college and professional football. Football was a huge part of my life and it taught me many skills that I have translated to my Navy career,” Fisher noted.

    He affirms that the skill level and necessary intangibles to succeed on the field of play in the team sport do translate over to being part of his command.

    “The first (skill) is emotional intelligence (EI) and how I needed to reframe my way of thinking about situations, such as COVID. As a leader and naval officer, I can help to improve the way young Sailors approach adversity or challenges throughout their lives. In football and in the Navy, you have to build skills to manage stress and things that are out of your control in constructive ways, and learn to think ahead. EI is a prerequisite for leadership. It helps you to understand that it’s not all about you, and to build better teammates and cohesiveness within the organization,” explained Fisher, adding that another similarity between football and the Navy is the need for a growth mindset.

    “I spent years as the captain, and had many years of blood, sweat and tears with brothers on and off the field,” continued Fisher. “Early on I was told I could not make it in the pros and that only a few people ever actually reach that level. I refused to accept that I had limitations. I knew I was responsible for my own success. I found many people around me who had a very fixed mindset and it limited their potential. My role in leadership is to continue to provide opportunities and support my Sailors to achieve their goals. The world is constantly changing, and you must adapt to succeed and grow.”

    As a MSC officer, Fisher provides integral expertise in helping support the command mission of operational readiness and ensuring there’s a medically ready force as well as a ready medical force, whether during a pandemic outbreak or not.

    “I will be able to support our war fighters wherever the Navy needs me to go. As a HCA/CIO who has been forward deployed and integrated within hospitals/clinics, that experience will allow me to be more efficient in maintaining continuous operational readiness. I can look at situations through different ‘lens’ to think outside the box,” said Fisher.

    The best part of his career, so far?

    “The friendships that have been built and being part of a larger purpose within Navy Medicine,” attests Fisher.

    When asked to sum up his experience with Navy Medicine in one sentence, Fisher replied, “I have had the fortunate opportunity to learn from the best leaders and introduce those skills into young Sailors.”

    The MSC celebrated 73 years on August 4, 2020. From the original 251 plank owners in 1947 serving in four specialties - supply and administration, allied sciences, optometry, and pharmacy – there are now nearly 3,800 active duty and reserve MSC officers, with approximately 44 assigned to NHB, fulfilling duty and responsibilities in 31 specialties.

    Those 31 specialties are considered indispensable in Navy Medicine, and Fisher is but one prime example of the diverse skill and capability of the corps.

    The Medical Service Corps is comprised of three basic communities. The Clinical Care specialties include Audiology, Clinical Psychology, Dietetics/Food Management, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant, Podiatry, and Social Work.

    The Health Care Science field encompasses Aerospace Experimental Psychology, Aerospace Physiology, Biochemistry, Entomology, Environmental Health, Industrial Hygiene, Medical Technology, Microbiology, Physiology, Radiation Health, and Research Psychology.

    Health Care Administration consists of Education and Training Management, Financial Management, Fleet Marine Force, General Health Care Administration, Health Care Facilities Planning, Information Management, Manpower Systems Analysis, Medical Logistics Management, Operations Research, Patient Administration, and Plans, Operations and Medical Intelligence.



    Date Taken: 08.04.2020
    Date Posted: 08.04.2020 15:17
    Story ID: 375268
    Location: BREMERTON , WA, US 

    Web Views: 307
    Downloads: 0