USUHS Commandant Position Available

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The following is available for O5/O6 officers with a desired fill date of 1 DEC 2016.  Please contact your Detailer by 30 NOV 2015 if interested.

Commandant, School of Medicine

The Commandant of the USU School of Medicine (SOM) is the senior military officer-in-charge of all officers assigned as students to the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine. With the support of the Army, Navy, Air Force,
and Public Health Service Company Commanders, the Commandant exercises command and control over the medical and graduate students assigned to the University.

The mission of the Office of the Commandant is to provide military leadership, to teach and instill “officership”, and to support medical education and professional development so that each student achieves the goal of becoming a world class military physician.

The Commandant reports to the Brigade Commander for military issues and chain of command accountability and serves as the military advisor to the Dean of the SOM. Duties and responsibilities of the Commandant, SOM include:
-Deputy Brigade Commander
-Chairman, Board of Review of Inter-service Transfers
-Member, Student Promotions Committee
-Member, Student Award Committee
-Advisor to the Dean and Associate Dean for Student Affairs
-Provides student resources for Service-specific military career counseling and officer professional development
-Model, stimulate, and foster professional leadership and officership
-Directs Service-specific mandated programs such as physical fitness, weight control, urinalysis testing, officer professional development, and equal opportunity
-Serves as a facilitator for military administrative requirements

How to Get on a Promotion Board

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The promotion boards for FY17 are rapidly approaching, so I wanted to briefly discuss who makes up the promotion boards and how to get on one.


The promotion boards consist of five voting members, and at least three of them are required to have board experience. Someone is designated the senior member or board president. In addition, there is always a line officer on medical corps boards, and this is one reason you can’t use medical abbreviations on your FITREPs without explaining what they mean. That line officer could be the one briefing your record and he/she may not know what AHLTA, STEMI, DM, or CVA mean. The remainder of the board will be filled by a diverse group of officers. There will always be at least one woman on the board and one minority, although the same person could meet both of these requirements. In addition, there will be a geographic dispersion including at least one member from outside the continental US (OCONUS).

The board recorders are the officers who review your record for a week before the board members arrive and the board convenes. There will be a head recorder as well as assistant recorders and they will all be from CONUS. In other words, you cannot serve as a board recorder if you are stationed OCONUS because it just costs too much money for travel.


This one is simple as you just have to e-mail your Detailer and ask. Keep in mind, though, that the demand to be on a board far outnumbers the spots that exist. When I was a Detailer I had a folder in my Outlook e-mail where I put everyone who wanted to be on a board, and there were between 50-100 names in there. During the 15 months I served at PERS, I only had to contribute about 10 names for a board. With the requirements related to board composition that we discussed above, opportunities may only be present for officers meeting these requirements.

Deputy Director, Defense Institute for Medical Operations – O5/O6 in San Antonio

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The Director, Defense Health Agency (DHA) is seeking nominations to fill the position of Deputy Director, Defense Institute for Medical Operations, Lackland Joint Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas:

RANK: 05/06
EXPERIENCE REQUIRED: Significant experience in military medical operations, international affairs, education and training, and familiarity with the DOD Security Cooperation/Assistance Program.

The Deputy Director is responsible for supporting the Director in leading/executing Defense Institute for Medical Operations (DIMO)
activities in the Air Force and Navy Surgeon General’s initiative of medical
operational training to military personnel of partner nations globally. The
Deputy Director collaborates with Department of State (DoS), Department of
Defense (DoD), Combatant Commanders (COCOM), Major Command (MAJCOM) staffs and civilian agencies to ensure unity of effort in all joint/public/private training endeavors. The Deputy Director manages all functions pertaining to organizational resources, personnel management (within both Air Force and Navy systems), successful execution of international mobile training missions globally, and timely and relevant curriculum development. This position is open To Medical Department officers of all Corps at the O-5/O-6 level with significant experience in military medical operations, international affairs, education and training, and familiarity with the DOD Security Cooperation/Assistance Program. The individual selected can ideally work with the current Deputy Director beginning in early August 2016 and assume the responsibilities of Director in September 2016. This is a rotational position that complements the Director’s service (i.e. if current DIMO Director is AF, Deputy Director will be USN) in order to maintain jointness for the DIMO mission. The Deputy Director will fleet up to Director in August 2017. Additionally, the ideal candidate will be able to hold the position for at least two years to three years.

If you are interested, contact your Detailer.

Specialty Leader vs Detailer – What’s the Difference?

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Many Medical Corps officers don’t understand the difference between their Specialty Leader and their Detailer. After you read this post, this won’t be a problem.


A Specialty Leader works for Navy Medicine (BUMED), the Surgeon General, and the Medical Corps Chief while a Detailer works for Navy Personnel Command (NPC or PERS). NPC/PERS is a line command, while BUMED is obviously medical. This difference is probably not of significance to the average Naval physician, but it can make a difference at times because these two commands (and people) will look at things from a different perspective.

For example, lets say you are one of two subspecialists at NH Camp Lejeune and you have a fairly light clinical load. You decide you want to leave early to get to your next command, Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP), because they are actually down one provider in your specialty due to the illness of another member of your community. Your Specialty Leader will probably endorse this early move because it makes sense. You are underemployed at Lejeune and there is a need at NMCP.

Your Detailer, however, will look at it differently. First, you haven’t served your full tour, so moving you early will require a waiver that may be denied by PERS. This largely has to do with money and PCS rules and has nothing to do with your specialty or the needs of the Navy. I’m not saying that Detailers don’t care about the needs of the Navy because they do, but they are constrained by the rules of PERS while a Specialty Leader is not.


A Specialty Leader serves as a liaison between you, BUMED, and your specialty as a whole. He or she also coordinates deployments, although the control they have over this was lessened by the return to platform-based deployments (deployments determined by what billet you are in or what unit/platform you are assigned to rather than whose turn it is to deploy). They also serve as a consultant both to you and your Detailer when it comes to career management and PCS moves.

A Detailer is your advocate to help you advance in your career, prepare for promotion boards by improving your officer service record, and negotiate orders for your next PCS. They will often speak with both you and your Specialty Leader while trying to balance your needs with the needs of the Navy. They also are the final approval authority for extension requests and actually write your PCS orders.


Specialty Leaders do not write orders. Many physicians think that the Specialty Leader is the one who decides what orders they get and where they PCS, but the reality is that Specialty Leaders can’t write orders. Only Detailers can, therefore it is the Detailer who makes the final decision in nearly all cases. If there is a good Specialty Leader-Detailer relationship, most of the time both are in agreement and there is no controversy, but about 5% of the time there is at least some level of disagreement that has to be worked out.

Detailers can write your orders to a command, but they do not influence who gets command-level leadership positions. For example, you may want to go to Jacksonville to be the Department Head of your specialty’s department. A Detailer can write you orders to Jacksonville, but which physician the command picks to be Department Head is up to them, not the Detailer (or the Specialty Leader).

Specialty Leaders will often talk to commands, but Detailers usually do not. The Detailer is SUPPOSED to talk to three people – you, the Specialty Leaders, and the Placement Officers. The Placement Officers are officers at PERS who represent the commands. You can think of them as the detailers for commands. They make sure that commands aren’t taking gapped billets, that the providers sent to the command meet the requirements of the billet they are entering, and weigh in on other issues like extension requests.

I say that a Detailer is SUPPOSED to talk to three people and USUALLY does not talk to commands, but the reality is that commands frequently call the Detailer instead of talking to their Placement Officers. This often happens because the Director at a command knows the Detailer but doesn’t know the Placement Officer. In addition, the Detailer is usually a physician (3 of 4 Medical Corps Detailers are physicians, the 4th is a MSC officer) and the Placement Officer is always a MSC officer. Physicians like talking to other physicians.

Finally, Specialty Leaders do not alter your officer service record. In fact, unless you send it to them, they can’t even see it or your FITREPs. Detailers, on the other hand, can see just about everything and can update/change some things, mostly additional qualification designators or AQDs.


Because you must actively manage your career to get what you want. This means you should talk with both your Specialty Leader and Detailer 9-18 months ahead of your projected rotation date (PRD). You should discuss your short and long-term goals, whether you want to PCS or extend, whether you are planning a Naval career or want to resign or retire, your family situation, and your medical situation if applicable.

Most importantly, though, is to be honest with both your Detailer and Specialty Leader. Most Specialty Leaders get along well with the Detailer, so if there is any disagreement between the three of you make sure that you keep things professional and respectful at all times. It’s a small Navy and, to be honest, it will be readily apparent if you are playing one off against the other.

O6 Billet Available – Navy Reserve Forces Command Force Surgeon

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This is a call for nominations for the position of FORCE SURGEON COMNAVRESFOR (US), which is an excellent opportunity in the Norfolk area!

You must be a CAPT at time of fill in Summer 2016.  You also need to be at your projected rotation date (PRD) in Summer 2016, but PERS will consider people who are CONUS with at least 2 years on station.  (A command endorsement of your early rotation with a potential gap will be required.)


Contact your Detailer if you are interested.  The application deadline is 20 NOV 2015.

Who’s On Your List?

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In my opinion, every Naval physician needs to have a list of people. On this list are the people who you absolutely, positively will not mess with. When you talk to them, you show them the utmost respect. When they ask you for something, you give it to them better and faster than you ever give anyone anything. These are the people who have determined your career path to this point and are likely to continue to steer if for the near future.

Who’s on your list? If you don’t know, you should think about this as soon as you can. You might think it is silly, but I’d actually make a list. Just to show you I’m serious, I’ll share my list:

  • Current Emergency Medicine (EM) Specialty Leader
  • Prior Deputy Commander of NMC Portsmouth
  • Prior EM Specialty Leader
  • Current Director of Medical Services at NMC San Diego
  • Prior EM Specialty Leader and Deputy Medical Corps Chief

Why are they on my list? They are Emergency Physicians like me, and they are the most senior and potentially influential people in my career. They are the people who are senior to me, well thought of in my specialty, and get phone calls or in person inquiries when I apply for a leadership position. For example, one of the people on this list thought of me when the Detailer job became available and endorsed me for it.

Who’s not on my list? There are no admirals on my list. As a CDR, it is rare that I’m on the radar of an admiral. Some of them know who I am, and some of them could have a major impact on my career path, but it is unlikely that they’ll take a huge interest in my career until I’m a CAPT and qualify for major leadership positions working directly for them. If an admiral wants to know about Joel Schofer, they’ll probably call one of the CAPTs on my list and ask them about me.

Who should be on your list? The people you should consider putting on your list include:

  • Your Specialty Leader and prior Specialty Leader
  • Your Detailer
  • Influential people in your specialty who are 1-2 ranks senior to you
  • Whoever is currently in the job(s) you want

Undoubtedly there are other people you should consider, but this list is a good start.

Once you create the list, here are the things you need to keep in mind. Always treat these people with the utmost of respect. You should always treat everyone with respect, but these people get special attention. Never get into an argument with them. I’m not saying you have be a “yes man” (or woman) and agree with everything that they say, but any disagreement needs to be collegial and respectful. You want to prevent them from getting mad at you, if at all possible. When they ask you for something or they give you a task, it immediately rises to the top of your to-do list. In addition, you never give them anything but your best, maximal effort.

The Navy is a large organization that can appear impersonal, but people run it. The people on your list are the ones who are going to determine your future and whether you get want you want or not. If I were you, this is one list I’d put some thought into and actually make.

Multiple National Capital Region Program Director Positions Open for 2016

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The following National Capital Region program director positions will be opening in spring/summer 2016 in Bethesda:

1. Occupational Medicine Residency
2. Pathology Residency
3. Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellowship
4. Pain Medicine Fellowship
5. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency
6. Body Imaging Fellowship

Contact your Detailer if you are interested in applying.