Naval Medical Center San Diego's CO Recognized for Mentoring Women

Story Number: NNS190202-01Release Date: 2/2/2019 7:21:00 AM
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By Suzanna Brugler, Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Naval Medical Center San Diego’s (NMCSD) commanding officer received honors from the American Medical Association (AMA) 2018 Inspirational Physicians Recognition Program during an awards ceremony held in Chicago Nov. 10, 2018. 

Capt. Bradford Smith, MC, USN was formally recognized for sharing his “wisdom, expertise and passion for medicine to inspire other physicians” at the ceremony.

When asked about the award, which was created by the AMA Women Physicians Section to honor leaders who have offered their time, wisdom and support to mentor women in the medical field, Smith was characteristically self-effacing in his response.

“To the best of my ability I try to lead and mentor anyone who I feel may benefit from my tutelage, which in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps includes both men and women,” said Smith. “And if in receiving this recognition, which is specifically geared toward mentoring women, I can inspire others to also take an active role in mentoring women, then to me that is a good thing.”

Smith was nominated for the honors by a member of his previous command, Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, the nation’s first fully integrated Department of Defense/Veterans Affairs facility, in North Chicago, Ill. Cmdr. Josephine Nguyen, MC, USN was recently appointed to her current position as Acting Associate Director for Specialty Care when she nominated Smith, who was the then- commanding officer of Lovell, for the honors.

“Capt. Smith is an inspiring leader because he is first and foremost a professional who leads by example,” said Nguyen. “He gives 150% to impact the command using grace and kindness without condemnation, cultivating a nurturing environment and inspiring others to lead by his example.”

Nguyen credits Smith for encouraging her to step-up to the Acting Associate Director for Specialty Care position at Lovell, and for providing guidance on how to handle the difficulties which she might face.

“Capt. Smith has a way of providing personalized mentorship, encouraging others to seek out leadership opportunities and coaching them for success,” said Nguyen.

Before Lovell, Smith and Nguyen had previously worked together at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery from 2013-2014, recruiting students for the Navy’s Health Professions Scholarship Program.

“He always encourages others to do the right thing, even when the ‘right thing’ may be the harder thing to do,” said Nguyen. “In doing this he creates a culture of responsibility and safety, a culture of accountability, at his commands.”

Smith carried over this leadership trait to NMCSD, where he reinvigorated the weekly “Good Catch” recognition program. The program reinforces good processes and procedures in the workplace by rewarding employees who speak-up when they notice something has been overlooked in day-to-day practice, or something that appears to be awry.

“My top three priorities for NMCSD are fairly simple: to provide world-class patient care, for our employees to take care of and look after each other, and for our military staff to prepare to deploy,” said Smith. “Accomplishing this takes the entire team, and getting recognized for leadership toward this effort is unexpected yet appreciated from my perspective.”

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Capt. Bradford Smith receives recognition from staff
Capt. Bradford Smith, commanding officer, Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, receives a farewell gift from Courtney Barrett, left, Cmdr. Josephine Nguyen, center right, and Penny Darracott, right, all members of the command's Specialty Care department. Smith later received honors from the American Medical Association (AMA) 2018 Inspirational Physicians Recognition Program in November of that same year after being nominated by Nguyen for the award. (U.S. Navy photo by Keely Albarracin/Released)
January 31, 2019
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