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    BAMC doctors earn TSG recognition

    BAMC docs earn TSG recognition

    Photo By Jason W. Edwards | Capt. Juliette Conte is a Department of Emergency Medicine doctor at Brooke Army...... read more read more

    FORT SAM HOUSTON, TX, UNITED STATES

    12.04.2023

    Story by Robert Whetstone 

    Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs   

    JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, Dec. 4, 2023 -- The Army Surgeon General annually recognizes outstanding Army Medical Corps officers for their leadership and academic excellence. This year, TSG singled out two officers from Brooke Army Medical Center during the Physician Recognition Award Ceremony, Nov. 14, 2023, at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland.

    BAMC’s Lt. Col. Luis Rohena, deputy chief of the Department of Pediatrics and chief of medical genetics, and Capt. Juliette Conte, Department of Emergency Medicine physician, were recognized as top physicians in their respective ranks.

    The annual TSG-PRA provides personal recognition by TSG to four physicians who have made significant contributions to military medicine. The awards are presented to one MC officer at the ranks of captain, major, lieutenant colonel and colonel.

    Rohena was surprised to find out he had been selected for TSG-PRA at his rank. “I was in utter shock,” said Rohena. “I have seen individuals win these awards, and I consider it the top military (Army Medicine) award, and I just didn’t put myself in that category.”

    Rohena grew up in New York, attended Columbia University and the Ponce Health Sciences University via the Health Profession Scholarship Program. He has a long military history in his family, and when the events of 9/11 occurred, it motivated him to serve.

    “I was in New York City during 9/11,” he explained. “I was entering my sophomore year at Columbia and from that day forward, experiencing what we experienced in New York, I felt that it was my duty to serve. I had no doubt that I would lead a military career after 9/11.”

    Rohena always wanted to be a doctor and become an oncologist to find a cure for cancer because his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since this was a difficult goal to achieve, he shifted his focus and decided to become a geneticist. “I realized that if you could tell somebody what their predispositions are, that would save them from a cancer diagnosis rather than waiting for the cancer to come,” he said.

    BAMC sees the most cancer patients of any military treatment facility and Rohena hopes he has imparted a change that prevents individuals from getting cancer.

    As the director of the only metabolic clinic in the Department of Defense since 2015, Rohena cares for children with inborn errors of metabolism. “This (BAMC) is the only site in the military that they can be cared for,” he added. “From all locations around the world, all those families come here for care and I’m the only geneticist with that training that can provide that care.”

    When Conte found out she would receive the award she was mostly grateful for the leadership she received while at BAMC. “All of the opportunities that led to me receiving the award were due to great leadership and mentorship from my superiors, so I was grateful that those opportunities were afforded to me,” she stated.

    Like Rohena, Conte attended medical school at The State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Health Sciences University, by way of the HPSP. A native of New Jersey, she too had plenty of military history in her family that influenced her decision to join the ranks.

    “My family has a lot of service members in it,” explained Conte. “My brother is a veteran, father is a veteran, grandfathers are both veterans.”

    One specific family member gave her the extra nudge to serve. “My brother was an infantry platoon leader in the 10th Mountain Division and received two Purple Hearts during his deployment to Afghanistan,” said Conte. “While deployed in Afghanistan, he was in a grenade explosion and was a patient at BAMC. I was an undergrad at that time and came to visit him while he was recovering here (BAMC) and that inspired my desire to serve.”

    As the only Level I Trauma Center in the DoD, BAMC offers numerous and unique chances for an emergency medicine physician to hone and sharpen their skills. Opportunities, great leadership, and mentorship are what Conte says led to her receiving the award.

    “I was grateful that those opportunities were afforded to me, and that Col. Chin (Col. Eric Chin, residency program director) thought to nominate me for the award,” she said. “He’s been a mentor to me. Throughout residency, he was my program director, and now that I am on the staff (residency associate program director) he continues to be a mentor to me.”

    These awards are intended to increase physician motivation for exceptional job performance.

    “I think this award really highlighted for me the importance of having a mentor and leader who invests in their juniors, and I think receiving this award motivated me to offer the same opportunities to staff junior to me and residents that are getting ready to graduate,” Conte added. “I’m hoping to open their eyes to all of the opportunities that are available to EM physicians in the military.”

    Conte works diligently to get residents operational experience to go on temporary duty for research studies or for field exercises. This TSG recognition is a reminder of how important it is to mentor and lead. “It really inspired me to try to recognize the senior residents and more junior staff,” she said.

    Rohena and Conte both feel the need to pay it forward.

    “You mentor,” said Rohena. “I see a responsibility because other people, just in the time that I’ve been here; just in the week from coming back from being presented the award, there are other people that look up to you; the junior residents, the senior residents, the people under me, the people that I supervise. It’s emulating the ideals of our profession and I’m going to continue to do that because I know the responsibility is to mentor other people to this level.”

    Individuals who want to become doctors go through undergrad, medical school, three sets of board exams in medical school, apply to residency, conduct residency, and take more board exams after residency.

    “Medicine is the long game,” added Conte. “It’s a long road and very taxing, but once you get where you’ve been working towards, what you’ve been striving towards for so long, you realize how much people trust you and how much people are willing to entrust their lives into your hands on the worst day of their lives. They’re coming to you, often times blindly trusting you and that’s a very unique feeling a lot of people will never experience in their lives. So, it should motivate you to be the best physician you can to take care of people that are trusting you.”

    Rohena and Conte expressed how much their support systems and teamwork are helping them reach the heights they have accomplished thus far in their careers.

    “I wouldn’t be able to do this without my family or the support of my team,” said Rohena. “There’s nothing about this award that is individual.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 12.04.2023
    Date Posted: 12.04.2023 17:46
    Story ID: 459097
    Location: FORT SAM HOUSTON, TX, US

    Web Views: 589
    Downloads: 0

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